NCAA Women’s 800 — Rose All-In From The Gun

In her first outdoor NCAA final, LSU soph Michaela Rose raced with the confidence of a seasoned veteran. (MIKE SCOTT)

WIRE-TO-WIRE. As a frosh, Michaela Rose hadn’t even made the NCAA meet. A year later, she dominated with a 1:59.83 in windy conditions, leaving no question of who the top collegiate 2-lapper is this season.

The LSU soph had already broken 2:00 twice this year, the first her 1:59.08 collegiate leader, the second the 1:59.73 that won her the SEC. Here she lined up against favored Roisin Willis of Stanford, who had won the Indoor title. But she was not intimidated. In fact, Rose admitted that she lined up with thoughts of breaking Athing Mu’s CR of 1:57.73.

Running into the wind on the backstretch, Rose led through 200 in 28.4 with Willis on her shoulder. BYU’s Claire Seymour tucked into 3rd. By the 400 post in 58.47, Rose and Willis had separated from the field and still ran close together. That all changed as Rose surged on the turn and had a 5-meter gap on Willis with 300 left.

She explained, “After 400, you slow down without knowing it, so I took a surge there knowing that was what was going to get me ahead of the competition.”

Rose passed 600 in 1:29.2, but her chasers never quit. On the turn Willis ate into the margin a bit, with Seymour on her shoulder and Gabiya Galvydytė of Oklahoma State moving up fast.

Would Rose be run down? Not a chance. With 70 left she lifted into a gear none of her pursuers had and flew comfortably across the line in the fourth-fastest winning time in meet history. “I told myself to not look back because I wanted to give it everything. Any millisecond looking back could have cost me, so I saw on the board where they were and I was like, ‘I still have something in me, I’m just going to go for my form and just push to the line.’”

Behind her, Galvydytė kicked best to snatch 2nd in 2:00.47 ahead of Seymour (2:00.55) and Willis (2:00.91).

“I definitely went for it,” said Rose of her record thoughts. “I just shoved [the wind] to the back of my head and decided I was going to keep pushing because I know what I’m capable of doing.”

At 600 she realized it wasn’t going to happen. “It was still a championship race. I’ll hopefully have another chance for the Collegiate Record, but today wasn’t the day.”


FINAL (June 10)

1. **Michaela Rose (LSU) 1:59.83 (x, 10 C; 5, 5 NCAA) (58.47/61.36);

2. **Gabija Galvydytė’ (OkSt-Lit) 2:00.47 PR (10, x NCAA) (59.88/60.59);

3. Claire Seymour (BYU) 2:00.55 (59.15/61.40);

4. ***Roisin Willis (Stan) 2:00.91 (58.61/62.30);

5. Dorcus Ewoi’ (Camp-Ken) 2:02.13 (60.13/62.00);

6. Valery Tobias (Tx) 2:02.39 (60.04/62.35);

7. Aurora Rynda’ (Mi-Can) 2:03.15 (59.69/63.46);

8. *Meghan Hunter (BYU) 2:04.05 (61.04/63.01);

9. Katherine Mitchell (BC) 2:05.66 (60.03/65.63).

(best-ever mark for-NCAA place: 4)

SEMIS (June 08)

I–1. Galvydytė’ 2:03.01; 2. Rynda’ 2:03.37; 3. Rachel Gearing (PennSt) 2:03.51; 4. *Rose Pittman’ (UCLA-Aus) 2:03.77 PR; 5. **Lindsey Butler (VaT) 2:04.04; 6. Jessica Rabius (HouC) 2:06.31; 7. ***Lauren Tolbert (Duke) 2:07.01; 8. ***Hayley Kitching’ (PennSt-Aus) 2:10.61.

II–1. Willis 2:02.04; 2. Mitchell 2:02.18; 3. *Kayla Bell (Murr) 2:02.66 PR; 4. Sarah Hendrick (KennSt) 2:03.37; 5. *Cindy Bourdier’ (LSU-Fra) 2:04.07; 6. *Brooke Jaworski (Tx) 2:06.23; 7. ***Taylor James (Stan) 2:06.25; 8. **Ella Nelson (Or) 2:06.42.

III–1. Rose 2:00.31 (fastest Q ever); 2. Tobias 2:00.68; 3. Ewoi’ 2:01.12 PR; 4. Seymour 2:01.24; 5. Hunter 2:01.53 PR; 6. Imogen Barrett’ (Fl-Aus) 2:01.94 (fastest non-Q ever); 7. *Carley Thomas’ (Wa-Aus) 2:02.02; 8. MaLeigha Menegatti (Boise) 2:02.76.