LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Laura Galvan of the K-State women’s cross country team capped off a sensational season Saturday at the NCAA Championships with a new school record time. The sophomore earned 45th place by finishing in 20:19.5 on the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, breaking the school record in the 6K. Galvan bested the previous record time of 20:26 held by Amy Mortimer set during the 2002 season.
“Today she saved her best race for her last,” said K-State head coach Michael Smith. “I was impressed with the way she ran the entire race. She was in 50th throughout the race and at the end, she passed five people. Galvan felt good and she ended up racing well. Come to find out, it became the best race of her career and the fastest time ever in the 6K for a Wildcat woman.”
In running the fastest time ever for a Wildcat woman in the 6K, Galvan defeated six runners she had previously lost to in the Big 12 Championships back on October 27 and one who defeated her at the Midwest Regional Championships on November 9.
Oregon, the No. 2 team in the nation, won the NCAA Championships by totaling 114 points. The No. 8 team in the country, Providence, finished second with 183 points. Stanford rounded out the top three by earning 198 points. Although No.2 Oregon won the race as a team, a runner from a Big 12 school won the race individually.
Senior Betsy Saina from No. 3 Iowa State won the race with a blistering time of 19:27.9 while there was a tie for second. Abbey D’Agostino, a junior from Dartmouth and Jordan Hasay, a senior from No. 2 Oregon both earned a time of 19:28.6.
While Galvan ran her best race of the season, Smith does not believe she is satisfied.
“She is leaving here feeling like she ran the best she could, but is hungry for more. She believes she can come back and be better than today,” Smith said. “Galvan was one and a half seconds behind the 40th place runner who was the last to become an All-American. If she continues at this pace, she may be one of the best Wildcat women ever.
“What Galvan did today is great and the fact it is the fastest ever ran in the 6K puts her in elite company when it comes to K-State women cross country runners. We hope she continues to improve. This was a great way to end a great season for her. I’m proud of how she committed herself all season and proud of her results.”
The way Galvan’s season finished up is exactly how Smith thinks it should have happened.
“It is supposed to work out that her best race was the last race,” Smith said. “At the end of September at the Rim Rock Classic, she took the lead for the whole race and finished seventh, getting beaten by Toledo and Michigan runners. We had stressed all year with her that we are setting her up to run well at the end of the year. Galvan ran the best race of her life and put it together against people who had beaten her during the year.
“She ran significantly better than she did all year, which is unusual. Credit goes to her for learning from each race and learning how to be successful. K-State is lucky she is only a sophomore.”
Galvan was proud of how her hard work during the season paid off at the end with a record-breaking finish.
“It is a great feeling to know the persistence and the hard work paid off in the end,” Galvan said. “I had a really good season and I still have two years of training and running. Although I am happy about the season and what I accomplished, I am also looking forward to getting better.
“In this race, there are many good athletes who race, which keeps me working hard and makes me want to improve. It is amazing to race here because of the competition and experience. Now, I know what it takes to be here next season and what it takes to be successful. That will give me a lot of experience for my indoor track meets and next season in cross country.”
Smith is already looking forward to the possibilities next season will bring for the women’s cross country team.
“We are very optimistic of the women’s program because last year Martina Tresch was 47th at the NCAA Championships and she is coming back. Next season, we are bringing back a 45th-place finisher and a 47th-place finisher,” Smith said. “There is plenty of optimism for the future. If we keep Galvan and Tresch healthy, we are hoping we will be competitive as a team. Our goal next season will be to make it to the NCAA Championships as a team.”
Galvan finished her incredible season with four top 10 finishes and five within the top 11. She placed second at the JK Gold Classic, won the Woody Greeno Invitational and earned seventh at the Rim Rock Classic. After the Rim Rock Classic, she was 36th at the Pre-National Invitational, 11th at the Big 12 Championship and seventh at the Midwest Regional Championships.