The University of Colorado junior Dani Jones finished second in the women’s mile here on the final day of the 2018 NCAA indoor Championships Saturday at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
Just like the 2017 indoor championships, Jones finished her championship race with a dramatic flair. Jones finished second in the mile to New Hampshire’s Elinor Purrier by .06 seconds, which is the closest margin of victory in the women’s mile since 1991.
Jones got off to a steady and strong start staying in the top pack. She was in control the whole time, gradually moving up into third place to cruise until she found her moment to make moves. Jones has a strong kick and put it to use in the final lap as the pace quickened. When they reached the final turn, Purrier and Jones were neck-and-neck sprinting to the finish line where Purrier crossed in 4:31.76 while Jones finished in 4:31.82. Jones finished second earning first-team All-America honors.
“I was very very pleased with Dani’s race tonight,” head coach Mark Wetmore said. “Her preparation has been imperfect since about December, but good enough to get her here and good enough to put her in the hunt. Her natural courage and predatory instincts took over and she very nearly won the race. She out kicked a bunch of very good kickers and fell just a few hundredths short of the title. But coach Burroughs and I are totally thrilled with how she did today.”
A duo of Buffs competed in the 3,000 meters both earning second-team All-America honors. Ben Saarel raced on the men’s side finishing in 10th with an 8:10.05 time. Saarel got off to a solid start staying in the top-eight, but about halfway through he fell back and could not stay with the front pack. Saarel closes out his indoor career with four indoor All-America honors including two in the 3,000 meters.
Erin Clark was the only Buff who raced on the women’s side as Makena Morely just could not race due to illness. Clark placed 13th with a time of 9:21.07 to earn her second All-America honor on the weekend as she also earned first team honors in the 5,000 meters from Friday night.