LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Bates senior Katherine Cook concluded a year of stunning performances with perhaps her greatest race, placing second in the 10,000-meter run as the 12th seed Thursday morning at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships in a time of 35:17.48, 40.9 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher and shattering her own team record in the event by 20.83 seconds.
Cook (South Burlington, Vt.) was the only runner within shouting distance of the event champion, Ithaca's Taryn Cordani (35:03.20), in claiming her fourth All-America honor this year. Paige Lawler of Washington University came in third at 35:58.38. Cook was the only runner in the field of 22 who ran a personal-record time.
Cook's past All-America honors were for third place in the 5,000 meters and seventh in the 3,000 at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and 16th place at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in the fall.
She is Bates' second ever All-American in the 10,000 following Abby Anthony's sixth-place finish in 2003. She also becomes the 16th women's track and field athlete to win All-America honors outdoor, and is the eighth Bates woman to win four or more All-America honors combined in track and cross country.
As Bates' lone representative at the meet, Cook scored eight team points, putting Bates in a six-way tie for 34th place out of the 152 teams that competed in the national meet.
Cook was the 12th seed out of 22 women in the 10,000, based on her team-record time of 35:38.21, which won her the conference title at the NESCAC Championships. She was also qualified to race in the 5,000 meters, ranking second in the nation in that event with a Bates-record time of 16:34.68, but elected to focus on one race at her third and final NCAA championship meet before she graduates from Bates on Sunday.
Cook's career at Bates transformed from very good to becoming one of the best distance runners in college history with her sublime senior season. It began with one of the best cross country seasons in school history, including a fourth-place finish at NCAA Regionals and a 16th-place individual finish at the NCAA Championship.
Her success only grew in the indoor track and field season, first signaled by running the seventh fastest 5,000-meter time in Division III history, destroying the team record with a time of 16:39.07 at Boston University. At the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, Cook gained her second and third All-America honors of the year and her career by taking third place in the 5,000 and seventh place in the 3,000, leading Bates to an eighth-place team finish at the national meet.