Former Southern Regional Runner Kaitlyn Mooney Sets Division III Record in 5,000 to Win National Indoor Title

Mar 13, 2019
Courtesy of: Coast Guard Athletics Former Southern Regional and Coast Guard Academy runner Kaitlyn Mooney shows off her championship trophy after winning the NCAA Division III 5,000-meter title on March 8.

Flash back to June 2016. Kaitlyn Mooney had just wrapped up her senior year at Southern Regional High School not only by winning the NJSIAA Meet of Championships title in the 3,200-meter run, she did so by shattering the school record once held by Danielle Tauro. Mooney didn’t have much to say about the feat. However, teammate Liz Chartier and then-coach Brian Zatorski had plenty to say about it, referring to Mooney as one of the grittiest, hard-working competitors Southern track and cross-country had ever delivered into a larger world and predicting even brighter days were ahead.

So far, while at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Mooney has been outstanding, placing among the top four in the nation each of the past two cross-country seasons. But no doubt her brightest moment yet occurred on March 8, when she captured the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships inside the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.

Oh, and she just happened to set the Division III record for the event, finishing the race in 16 minutes, 23.12 seconds. The previous mark was held by Stevens Institute of Technology’s Amy Regan, who ran a 16:23.40 in 2016.

After hanging right behind and alongside Albion’s Cassie Vince for seven laps, Mooney threw her pace into another gear during the eighth lap and simply dropped the hammer on the rest of the field from there, clocking her two fastest half-lap splits – 37.618 between 3,000 and 3,200 meters, and 37.512 seconds between 3.200 and 3,400 meters – since the opening 200 meters (36.711).

During the next several laps, Mooney’s pace remained around 38 to 39 seconds per 200 meters, before the sophomore sensation cruised the final 200 meters at a 38.757-second clip. She finished more than 12 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Annie Rodenfels of Centre College, who crossed the line in 16:35.40. Aly Wayne of Washington University finished third in 16:36.40, while Johns Hopkins’ Caelyn Reilly took fourth in 16:42.53, and Vince ultimately placed fifth in 16:48.92.

Mooney became the first CGA female athlete to win a track national title, after she earlier this season registered a school-record time of 16:27.30 in the 5,000 meters during the Boston University Dave Hemery Valentine Invitational, which at the time was the second-fastest time in Division III history.

Of course, Mooney also enjoys running relays, and later at Friday’s national championship meet helped the Coast Guard Distance Medley take third in the nation with a combined time of 11:43.85, also a school record. During the relay, Mooney anchored the crew with a 1,600-meter leg of 4:51.29, while teammates Anita Green completed the opening 1,200 meters, Anne Beck ran the second leg of 400 meters and Adora Lawrence handed off the baton following an 800-meter leg.

Two weeks prior to winning her national crown, Mooney won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter races in the Division III New England Regional Indoor Championships, clocking times of 9:36.62 and 16:36.89, respectively.

David Biggy

Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McDonald | Mar 14, 2019 15:21

WTG Kaitlyn.

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