by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Kayla Leland powered past two runners in the final two laps to finish fifth in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Division III National Championships.
The senior finished with a time of 17:02.10 to earn All-America honors for the second straight year. Brittany Bowman of Tufts won the race with a time of 16:31.32.
Leland opened the meet with 25-meter lead after 35 seconds and held down first place for the first 3:15 of the race before she was passed by Ithaca's Taryn Cordani, the defending champion. After being passed, Leland settled into seventh place for the majority of the event before passing Mary Eccles of MIT and outracing Wartburg's Ashlyn Bagge to the finish line to earn fifth.
After earning All-America honors this weekend, Leland has been named an All-American in three indoor events over the last two seasons. In 2017, she finished fourth in the mile and eighth in the 800 meters to become an All-American in both. The top-eight finishers in each event are named All-Americans.
Leland was the only Pirate to qualify for the Indoor National Championships this season, continuing a three-year streak of Whitworth qualifiers. Her school-record 17:01.69 time was seeded eighth entering the meet.
Up next, the outdoor track and field season continues for the Bucs, who host their first meet next weekend. Whitworth host from seven other schools at the Buc Scoring Invite on March 17.