Arkansas distance runner Taylor Werner missed almost all of last season due to an injury, but once she became healthy again, Werner returned to her training.
That training paid off over the weekend.
The Ste. Genevieve alumnus snagged two top-four finishes in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Austin, Texas, and her team brought home the fourth national championship in program history with 64 points.
Werner had her best finish in the 5,000-meter run and challenged Colorado’s Dani Jones, the NCAA Cross Country champion, for the title. Werner had the lead with about 500 meters left until Jones delivered one final kick with 50 meters to go. Werner took second place in 15:51.24 for second place as Jones won by just over a second.
Earlier in the meet Werner ran in the 10,000-meter race. She was part of the leading group the entire race and had a chance for the title. Werner claimed fourth place with a time of 33:20.68 for her first of two First-Team All-American honors during the meet.
Arkansas was tied with University of Southern California [USC] headed into the final event, the 4x400m relay, and both schools had a team in the finale. Arkansas came out ahead to win the championship with 64 points as the Razorbacks finished ahead of USC about three months earlier in the indoor national championship meet.
In high school Werner won 11 state championships and currently holds the all-class record in the 3,200-meter race in track and the state cross country championship record at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City. The standard at Oak Hills will be safe for a while as the high school state cross country will take place in Columbia this fall.
(Information from the University of Arkansas athletic website and Herald archives. Photo courtesy of the University of Arkansas athletic department.)