GENEVA, Ohio -- Less than 24 hours before her graduation from Bates College, senior Ayden Eickhoff capped her brilliant collegiate running career with a second-place finish in the 1,500 meters, Saturday in the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
With a time of 4:30.73 run in windy, 80-degree conditions, Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.), seeded second in the event, trailed only top-seeded Emily Bryson of Brandeis, who captured her fourth career NCAA title in a time of 4:28.44.
Eickhoff surged from the back of a nine-runner pack on the third lap to take the lead for about 50 meters, before Bryson made her move and pulled away over the course of the final 300 meters. Eickhoff gutted out the final half-lap to hold off Calvin senior Katherine Diekema (4:30.84) and Middlebury senior Abigail Nadler (4:31.22) and claim second place.
Eickhoff's performance scored eight team points for Bates, putting the Bobcats in a tie for 33rd place out of 151 participating teams at the meet.
Bates' cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams all scored in their respective NCAA Championships in the 2018-19 academic year, making the Bobcats eligible for USTFCCCA Program of the Year honors.
Eickhoff is now tied with Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan '10 for the second-most All-America honors in Bates women's track and field history, with six apiece. That number includes two second-place finishes (outdoor 1,500 and indoor distance medley relay), and one third-place finish (indoor 800) in her senior season alone.
Eickhoff also becomes the program's all-time most-decorated runner in terms of All-America status, pulling out of a tie with Izzy Alexander '09 (5) and Jessica Wilson '17 (5).