MEDFORD - Continuing her impressive late-season surge, junior Annalisa DeBari of the Tufts University women's track & field team finished as an All-American in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Championships at North Central College on Saturday.
DeBari finished fifth in the 60 hurdles final with a time of 8.86 seconds. She was 0.11 ahead of Southern Maine's Neka Dias, making DeBari the top-finishing New England athlete in the event at the NCAA meet. George Fox senior Rachael Kraske won the national championship with an 8.63 time.
By virtune of qualifying for the final DeBari was guaranteed of her first-ever All-American honor. She ran a time of 8.87 seconds in the 60 hurdles preliminaries on Friday to finish fifth out of 16 total entries and earn one of the eight spots into Saturday's final.
Today's All-American race caps a whirlwind week for DeBari. As of last Friday (Mar. 3), she had never run under nine seconds in the event. She qualified for NCAA's with an 8.85 mark at the Tufts Final Qualifying Meet on March 4, 0.21 better than her previous season-best (9.06). Her 8.87 in the preliminaries and today's 8.86 show remarkable consistency of performance when it mattered most.
This is Tufts Women's Track & Field's first-ever All-American effort in the 60-meter hurdles (previously 55-meter hurdles). The only Jumbo who made the final was Folake Aaron in the 2001 55 hurdles. She was eighth, but at that time only the top six earned All-American honors.
DeBari's fifth-place finish earned four team points for Tufts at NCAA's. Paired with the one point classmate Brittany Bowman scored by taking eighth place in the 5,000 meters on Friday, head coach Kristen Morwick's Jumbos totaled five team points to tie for 41st place at the national championshipm meet.