Moreno Wins National Championship in 5000m

Moreno Wins National Championship in 5000m

LINCOLN, Neb. – The University of La Verne's Lenore Moreno shattered the NCAA Division III Championship Meet record and was crowned the national champion in the women's 5000-meter run on Friday at the 2014 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field National Championship at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. FEATURE

Moreno got out to a fast start, but found herself just barely behind Stevens Institute's Amy Regan and Calvin's Nicole Michmerhuizen early in the race. But it was all a part of her race strategy.

"I knew going in, (Michmerhuizen) was going to get out in front," Moreno said. "What I wanted to do was stay with her a mile or so and see how I felt from there."

At about the four-minute mark, Moreno made her move and went surging past Regan and Michmerhuizen.

"I felt really good, really strong. I knew if I was going to make a move, it had to be soon, so I just went ahead on an instinct and I was able to finish well."

It wasn't close the rest of the way.

Moreno kept extending her lead and had lapped most of the field of 17 when she crossed the finish line at 16 minutes, 32.85 seconds. Michmerhuizen finished second, almost nine seconds behind Moreno.

"It's amazing," Moreno added. "It was a big goal of mine and just to finally accomplish it with great coaches, teammates and family is a blessing."

Moreno's time is the third fastest in Division III history and is almost seven seconds faster than the previous championship record set by Melissa White of the State University of New York, Geneseo in 2003.

Moreno becomes the first Leopard in history to win an Indoor National Championship and La Verne's fourth All-American. Lori Waters earned All-America honors in 2004 in the shot put, Chelsea Sherier was seventh in the pole vault in 2005 and Paul Turner was third in the triple jump at last year's national championship meet.

Moreno, who was competing in her first and final Indoor National Championships, entered the Friday's final as the event's top seed. The West Covina native sped to then-top Division III time of 16:45.51 at the Husky Classic in February and emerged as a favorite to win the race.

Chancise Watkins had a strong prelim run in the 200-meter on the men's side. The senior bettered his seed time by two-tenths of a second and made the Saturday's final with a time of 21.57 seconds. The 200-meter final starts at 2:05 p.m. tomorrow.

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