Five Lions achieve All-American honors

The College was “seeing stars and stripes” in Terre Haute, Ind., at the 2007 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, as five Lions earned All-America honors.

Junior Brian Kopnicki led the way by taking home two All-America citations.

Kopnicki earned an individual merit by placing seventh in the one-mile run with a time of 4:13.20. Runners are awarded All-America status by finishing in the top eight of their event. The junior secured a spot in this race by previously finishing third in his heat, clocking in at 4:13.34.

Kopnicki’s other All-America honor came in the men’s distance relay, as he, along with senior Matt Randal and sophomores Chris Guerriero and Rob McGowan, completed the event with a seventh-place time of 10:06.96.

“I expected to perform well,” Randal said. “It is Nationals and you always expect to run your best against the best. The week before in Boston, we set a school record and all ran personal bests. So we were coming in on a high and expected to be very competitive.”

Randal’s pre-race optimism was contrasted by the slight post-race dissatisfaction of McGowan.

“Getting All-America status was a great accomplishment,” McGowan said. “I’m still slightly disappointed that we didn’t win because I thought we had a good shot. Overall the trip was a success.”

The Lions men were not the only ones who had success at the Championships.

Sophomore Stephanie Herrick finished sixth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:14.89 to receive her All-America honor.

Herrick advanced to the finals by finishing third in her heat with a time of 2:16.26.

Although this is her first All-America citation for indoor track, Herrick is no stranger to this award. She also earned the All-America distinction at the 2006 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the same 800-meter event.

Overall, the Lions had a successful weekend of victory as well as closure.

For Randal, ending his indoor career is a warm farewell.

“To end my indoor career like this, I couldn’t ask for more,” Randal said. “I just have to thank my teammates for this wonderful present.”

The Lions’ spring track & field season begins on Saturday, March 24, at the Monmouth University Season Opener.