Rams finish historic 10th at NCAA Championships
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Women's Track & Field - Sat, May 23, 2015

CANTON, N.Y. – Coach Dan Schofer's Rams bagged two more all-America plaques Saturday and collected four total en route to a historic top-10 team finish at the NCAA Division III Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

All three Cornell competitors left St. Lawrence's Merrick-Pinkard Track & Field Complex as All-Americans and outperformed their seeds in all five individual events.

The Rams racked up 21 points – more than double their projected pre-meet total – and secured 10th place in the final team standings. Cornell's only other top-10 national finish came back in 1963, when the men's squad took 10th at the Division II Championships.  

Sam Martinez (JR/Bowie, Texas) headlined the final day with a third-place effort in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Sophomore Abrah Masterson (SO/Granby, Colo.) parlayed a stirring comeback win in Thursday's 10,000 with a sixth-place finish in the 5,000 late Saturday afternoon.

The Rams received two team points Friday from senior Madison Acree (SR/Shawnee, Kan.), who took seventh in the hammer throw.

Masterson, a two-time 2015 NCAA indoor placewinner, became the first Ram in school history to corral four all-America medals in the same year. She now stands alongside men's shot putter John Martin (1992-93) as the program's only four-time All-Americans in track and field.

Martinez stamped an extraordinary junior season with a powerful kick to her all-America finish in the 3000 steeplechase. She clocked her best split (1:20.54) on the final lap and crossed the line in 10:39.82.

Martinez was just .13 seconds off the school record she set Thursday as the fastest qualifier in the prelims. The two-time Midwest Conference champion outdid the No. 9 seed she carried into the meet.   

Martinez hung in the top five the entire race and moved to fourth at the halfway mark. She held steady at that position and charged past Willamette's Michaela Freeby down the final homestretch to grab third.

Martinez finished behind a pair of 2014 All-Americans. Senior Lucy Cheadle of Washington U. defended her NCAA title with a winning time of 10:25.32. Sophomore Hannah Cole of Williams was second in 10:32.03.

Less than three seconds separated Martinez from the next four finishers. Freeby wound up fourth in 10:41.63.

Martinez joined Masterson and Lynn Schneider (shot put, 2005) as the only Ram women to earn indoor and outdoor all-America honors in the same season. Martinez, a fourth-place finisher in the indoor mile, was Cornell's first female cross country All-American in the fall. 

Martinez's performance vaulted the Rams into second place in the team race through seven scored events.

Masterson wound up a solid sixth in a tactical 5000 race, which saw all 22 competitors bunched tightly together most of the way. Masterson, the No. 7 seed, clocked a 75-second final lap and finished in 17:14.44.

It was Masterson's second all-America showing in the 5000, following a fourth at NCAA indoors.

Cal Lutheran senior Melissa Skiba won the race in 17:04.04. Luther's Tricia Serres was runner-up in 17:08.15.

Acree wrapped up a banner-filled throwing career Saturday with a 14th-place showing in the shot put. Seeded 19th in the event, Acree recorded a toss of 43 feet, 4.25 inches on her third and final attempt in the prelim flight.

The cutoff mark for the finals was 44-11. Senior Cherae Reeves of Concordia-Moorhead was crowned event champion with a heave of 49-3.50.

Acree leaves the program as a nine-time MWC performer, two-time MWC champion and four-time NCAA qualifier with the one all-America medal from this weekend.