Erin Herrmann ran with the front of the pack the entirety of the NCAA Division III championship race in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The junior from Wheaton, Illinois (Wheaton-Warrenville South HS) contended for a national title through the final lap until claiming a second-place finish on Saturday in Waverly, Iowa.
Herrmann became the Flying Dutch’s first All-American in the event after clocking a runner-up time of 10 minutes, 41.30 seconds. She was within a second of her own school record of 10:40.44.
Herrmann trailed only SUNY-Geneseo’s Jacqueline Huben, who went 10:38.60.
“I’m stoked about the finish, especially considering last year,” Herrmann said. “I made it to nationals, but didn’t make it to finals. To go from 18th overall to second is really exciting. I’m really grateful for all the training I had to allow me to get here.”
Herrmann joined heptathlete Jane Pearson of Lake City, Michigan (Northern Michigan Christian HS) as Flying Dutch All-Americans at the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Assistant coach Mark Northuis said Herrmann has shown phenomenal improvement as a runner since her freshman year.
“The mental side has improved the most with her,” Northuis said. “That’s what made the difference today. She has the confidence to run her race. It’s important for her to get more experience running with large groups, so she can understand how to run in a larger meet. It’s difficult to do that in Michigan. But she handled herself perfectly.”
Herrmann and Huben established themselves as the race leaders with two laps to go. Huben pulled away over the final 800 meters.
Herrmann admitted it was challenging to running in a big pack with so many talented competitors.
“I ended up getting a little panicked there. I’d run up to the front, then fall back,” Herrmann said. “I tried to stay with the plan and take it out.”
Herrmann earned All-America honors for the second time this school year. She claimed them in cross country last fall with a 34th-place finish.
Herrmann also qualified for nationals in indoor track & field last March, where she placed 12th in the 3,000 meters.
Photo of Erin Herrmann by D3Photography