2013 NCAA Women’s 1500: Oklahoma State’s Natalja Piliusina Weaves Her Way From Seventh To First In The Final 100m To Win

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by: LetsRun.com
June 8, 2013

As a freshman in 2011, Oklahoma State’s Natalja Piliusina had a great NCAAs as she was the runner-up in the women’s 800. Last year, as a sophomore, she struggled as the 1500 favorite and was only tenth.

This afternoon at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, she had no problem with the favorite tag as she incredibly wove her way from seventh or eighth to first in the last 100 meters to win the women’s 1500 in 4:13.25.

Florida’s Cory McGee ended up a well deserved second in 4:13.94.

The Race

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Heading into the final 200 (3:41.9 approximate split), McGee, the junior from Florida, had the lead. She’d keep it until halfway down the homestretch. Coming off the final turn, McGee had a few meters on a wall of people. Just a few meters back, there literally was a pack of six or seven other runners as this race was incredibly tight (third through seventh would end up just .65 apart). In the back of the six or seven other competitors was Piliusina, easy to spot as the nominal race favorite stood out in her bright orange singlet.

Aamzingly, Piliusina found an opening. Coming off the turn, she was in lane two or three. She first weaved in to the left and then back out to the right. Once out of harm’s way, there was no stopping her as she ran down McGee and won by more than half-a-second.

Quick takes, interviews with Piliiusina, McGree and Arizona State sophomore Shelby Houlihan, and results appear below.

How Did I Weave Through All Those People?

Quick Take #1: Piliusina’s weave was truly incredible. The old adage of “It always opens up” certainly proved true here this afternoon as she seemed to be out luck heading into the last 100.

We’d been focused on her the entire last turn and it looked as if she wasn’t moving p uat all as she was at the back of the chasers boxed in. Then she hit the homestretch and did her best snake impersonation. Hopefully, this race ends up on youtube soon as you really need to see it to believe it.

After the race, Piliusina said that with 100 meters to go she thought the best she was going to do was sixth. Then once she found an opening she said she caught a second wind of energy and the rest is history. She was clearly best today but almost dind’t have the opportunity to prove it.

QT #2: McGee was happy with her second place finish. She was particularly happy because she says tactical races aren’t normally her forte. She did admit that there was a point on the homestretch where she thought she was going to be the winner.

QT #3: 4:13 is pretty fast, and there were a lot of women in contention the last 100m. Coming into Eugene, only six women in the field had broken 4:14 this year.

QT #4: The Oregon women’s long-shot bid for a triple crown came to an end with the race when Oregon’s two entrants finished last and next to last. Oregon’s Anne Kesselring did fall on the homestretch but at the time she was only in one of the final scoring positions worth a couple of points as she was fading during the final 100.

QT #5: Arizona State’s Shelby Houlihan came in as one of the entrants with a sub 4:14 seasonal best (4:13.64). While she only ended up eighth, she was pretty pleased with that as she’s a first-team All-American as a sophomore. She said she had some hamstring pain after the prelims which impacted her here. She’s going to try running the 800 at USAs.

Event Name Event# Round Heat Wind
Women 1500 M 25 2 1 +4.0
Record Athlete/Team Time Date
American Mary Slaney – Athletics West 3:57.12 7/26/1983
College Best Jenny Barringer – Colorado 3:59.90 6/7/2009
NCAA Meet Hannah England – Fla State 4:06.19 6/14/2008
Place Name Affiliation Time 300m 700m 1100m 1500m
1 Natalja Piliusina OKST 4:13.25 52.11 (52.11) 2:01.69 (1:09.58) 3:10.23 (1:08.55) 4:13.25 (1:03.03)
2 Cory McGee UFL 4:13.94 52.64 (52.64) 2:01.41 (1:08.78) 3:09.98 (1:08.58) 4:13.94 (1:03.96)
3 Amanda Mergaert UTAH 4:14.30 52.32 (52.32) 2:01.52 (1:09.20) 3:10.11 (1:08.60) 4:14.30 (1:04.19)
4 Rebecca Tracy ND 4:14.42 52.44 (52.44) 2:01.84 (1:09.41) 3:10.25 (1:08.41) 4:14.42 (1:04.18)
5 Amanda Eccleston MICH 4:14.56 52.68 (52.68) 2:01.96 (1:09.28) 3:10.45 (1:08.50) 4:14.56 (1:04.12)
6 Stephanie Brown ARK 4:14.58 52.18 (52.18) 2:01.89 (1:09.71) 3:10.44 (1:08.56) 4:14.58 (1:04.14)
7 Shelby Houlihan AZST 4:14.95 51.94 (51.94) 2:01.46 (1:09.53) 3:10.08 (1:08.62) 4:14.95 (1:04.88)
8 Amanda Winslow FSU 4:16.00 51.78 (51.78) 2:01.11 (1:09.33) 3:09.75 (1:08.65) 4:16.00 (1:06.25)
9 Linden Hall FSU 4:16.42 52.50 (52.50) 2:02.07 (1:09.57) 3:10.73 (1:08.67) 4:16.42 (1:05.70)
10 Emily Lipari VILL 4:18.68 52.38 (52.38) 2:02.25 (1:09.87) 3:11.10 (1:08.86) 4:18.68 (1:07.59)
11 Becca Friday UO 4:20.85 52.29 (52.29) 2:02.47 (1:10.19) 3:11.38 (1:08.91) 4:20.85 (1:09.48)
12 Anne Kesselring UO 4:28.17 52.02 (52.02) 2:01.66 (1:09.64) 3:10.43 (1:08.77) 4:28.17 (1:17.75)

More LRC Saturday Coverage: 
LRC  Men’s 1500: Oregon’s Mac Fleet Kicks To Victory To Delight of Hometown Crowd 

LRC Women’s 3,000m Steeplechase:Emma Coburn Wins Her Second NCAA Steeple Title As Colleen Quigley Gets The “A”
Men’s 5,000: Lawi Lalang Defeats Two Fresh Sub-13:20 Guys To Complete The 10k/5k Double

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