Amanda Phillips- All-American

Amanda Phillips- All-American

The Pioneers' Tamma Carleton and Amanda Phillips competed at the NCAA III Cross Country National Championships Saturday, November 17th in Northfield, Minn. Both runners earned a slot in the National Championships with their finishes at the West Regional last week in Estacada.

With a race-time temp of 34 degrees and snow flurries in the air just prior to the starting gun, Amanda Phillips (senior, Phoenix, Ore.) finished the 6k race with a time of 21:51, just edging out a runner from St. Thomas and another from Tufts to secure a 19th-place finish and All-American honors. Phillips placed 96th last season at her first trip to the National Championships. Her 19th place finish is the best-ever finish by a female Pioneer cross country athlete at the National Championships and the best finish by a Pioneer cross country athlete of either gender since Chris Miller's 9th place finish at the 1965 NAIA National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska. Phillips has the best-ever finish for a Pioneer at the NCAA III Cross Country Championships. She is the first female Cross Country All-American (either NAIA or NCAA III) at Lewis & Clark.

Phillips was the third finisher from the West Region. Willamette's Sarah Zerzan repeated as National Champion, finishing with a time of 20:54, 23 seconds ahead of second-place. Willamette's Maddie Coffman finished 11th with a time of 21:43.

Tamma Carleton (junior, Elk, Calif.), running in her third consecutive National Cross Country Championships, finished 79th with a time of 22:47. She was sixth among Northwest Conference finishers.

Carleton and Phillips competed in a field of 280 runners.

Coach Woodard's thought/comments on the race:

With race morning temperatures in the low 30s and light snow flurries, Amanda and Tamma were apprehensive about what to wear for the race. They finally settled on long sleeve dri-fit shirts and tights. After warming up, they felt they were overheating so off came the extra garments and they raced in their usual, singlets and shorts. Their concessions to the cold were gloves and headbands to protect their ears.

At the gun, the field of 280 made a mad dash to the first turn 200 meters away. There was a collision with a number of runners going down but Amanda and Tamma stayed out of trouble. As the bunched field spread out the Pio duo began to move forward, weaving their way through groups of runners. They broke into the top one hundred after the one mile mark. Amanda continued to charge through passing group after to group to break into the top 20. A long, strong finish brought her to the line in 19th, All-American. Tamma ran a strong middle race continuing to work her way up. After the sprint to the finish she crossed the line in 79th.

Interesting stats from nationals: Amanda was 92nd at the one mile, 33rd at the two mile, and 19th at the three mile. She was 16th with 250 to go but couldn't hold onto that. Tamma was further back than I thought, 148th at the one mile, 81st at the two mile, and 68th at the three mile. Chips come in handy for mid race splits.

It was a challenging course with less than ideal weather but Amanda and Tamma had fun, raced hard and capped another outstanding season with great performances. These two have set a standard of excellence with Amanda becoming the first L&C woman cross country All-American and Tamma earning her way to nationals three years in a row. For Amanda, it is on to track with fast opportunities ahead. After a spring semester abroad, Tamma will return in the fall for a fourth shot at nationals.

I am extremely proud of and happy for Amanda and Tamma for all they have battled through and accomplished. They continue to do amazing things and it is exciting that they are still improving and have even faster times ahead.

NCAA III Cross Country National Championships website