Anderson second in NCAA 1,500 meters
Minnesota senior and Perham native Gabriele Anderson passed three runners in the last 75 meters to complete a second-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.
"I'm appreciative of all the support I've had from everyone back home and so glad to have come back for one more season," Anderson said.
Anderson finished in a time of 4 minutes, 16.25 seconds earning her first All-America honor in her final collegiate event.
"It's definitely surreal; the atmosphere at Hayward field is hard to match. Before the race started I was just really trying to enjoy the moment. As a senior everything is coming to an end," Anderson said in an interview with gophersports.com.
According to the report from gophersports.com, the field started with an all-out sprint in the first 100 meters of the race then slowed into a more tactical pace.
Anderson was in fourth among the pack of nine runners as the field clocked a 69-second first 400 meters. Washington's Katie Follett took the lead and paced the runners to a 2:23 800-meter split.
Oregon's Jordan Hasay grabbed the lead going into the bell lap. Florida senior Charlotte Browning made her move down the final backstretch and took over the lead with a strong move with 200 meters remaining. Browning powered through the tape to win the national title in a time of 4:15.84.
Anderson came off the final turn in fifth place and moved to the outside to make room for her sprint to the tape.
She passed Villanova's Sheila Reid with 50 meters left and then battled past Florida State's Pilar McShine and Hasay in the final 10 meters, raising her arms in celebration as she crossed the finish line.
Anderson matched the highest outdoor NCAA finish by a Golden Gopher. She is the eighth Minnesota athlete to capture runner-up honors at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"I don't know if I could have (written) it much better myself," Anderson said. "I accomplished most things that I wanted to do and probably more than I thought I could. I'm happy with how I'm leaving my career as a Gopher and that's all you can ask for."
Anderson is prepping for a busy post-collegiate season joining a training group and preparing for the U.S. Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa June 23-27, running in Europe with Team Minnesota, along with the professional track season, which runs later in the summer. With all that, the former Yellowjacket still wants to try to get home a couple times.
"I hope to be around for some events in Perham this summer. It's been a pleasure representing Perham and the University of Minnesota for the past six years and I heard there were a lot of people who were able to watch my race," she said. It's great to have that support even though I've been at it for so long."
Anderson will also be completing her degree in Public Policy at the U of M in the fall. But before that, running is on her mind.
"I'm trying to see how the running is going to shake out for now," she said.
Anderson's gutsy finish to her final race and Gopher career is a fairy tale ending to a gutsy story.
In 2009, she was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of cancer of the salivary gland. Subsequent surgery and the battle with cancer ended her season and put a question mark on the continuation of her career.
"Being diagnosed with cancer kind of crystallizes everything and changes your perspective so much," said Anderson.
"The biggest thing that got me through that was the possibility of returning for one more season and having a good season and kind of showing what the human spirit can do after going through such a trying time. I'm so grateful that I had a chance to come back and run and put that energy and those emotions into something like running."
A jovial and really happy Anderson stated she was ready for the upcoming U.S. Championships and she can only run swifter riding those helpful and inspiring emotions.