Louisville, Ky. – Danielle Shanahan of LMU cross country competed in the NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., earning a 43rd place finish, just three places shy of All-American honors.
The redshirt senior, running in her third national championship, completed the 6K course in 20:14.82, placing in the top 50 among the 250-plus competitors. Shanahan’s appearance at the race marks the eighth time in the last 12 seasons the Lions have been represented at the national event.
“My goal was to be an All-American and I felt like I raced according to plan,” Shanahan said. “I was really feeling good in the last kilometer and I was passing runners, but just ran out of room to catch three more runners.”
Although falling short of All-American honors by three spots, Shanahan passed 18 runners in the last 1,000 meters of the race and posted the 12th-fastest split from 5K to the finish. Shanahan’s 43rd-place finish Saturday was her highest finish at the NCAA Championships, improving on her 87th-place finish in 2015. Her placement was the third-highest in LMU history only behind All-American Tara Erdmann’s 10th-place finish in 2011 and 25th-place finish in 2010. Shanahan’s time was 31 seconds faster than 2015, which happened to be on the same course.
“My cross country career at LMU has been very rewarding,” Shanahan said. “I've had the opportunity to work with amazing coaches and teammates, and compete with some of the best in the nation. I'm very proud that I finished my career representing the Lions on a national stage.”
Shanahan finishes her LMU cross country career with two national championship appearances (2015 and 2017), the school record in the 6K of 19:48.5, three top-4 finishes in the WCC Championships, WCC Freshman of the Year, and four individual invitational titles. Under the LMU jersey, she improved her time in the 6K by a minute from her freshman year when she ran 20:48. Shanahan set her school record at this year’s NCAA West Region Championship two weeks ago in Seattle, Wash. Her time was three seconds faster than the old mark held by Erdmann from 2011. She is one of three Lions (Erdmann and Sheree Shea) to eclipse the 20-minute barrier in the 6K. In 2015, she was the runner-up at the WCC Championships, and this year she was fourth behind three women who placed top-15 at this year’s NCAA Championship.
Shanahan also earned All-American honors last spring on the track in the 5K, finishing 11th at the NCAA Championships. She also ran the 10th-fastest 5K time (15:52.37) in the nation in the 2016-2017 indoor season, which at the time was her personal best. Later in the outdoor season, she improved by another two seconds to 15:50.77, ranking her third on the Lions' all-time list.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Danielle and all that she has accomplished over her years here at LMU,” Lions head coach Scott Guerrero said . “Multiple conference honors, school records, three times an NCAA qualifier and an All-America certificate are just a few of her accomplishments during her time here. She has been an exceptional representative of this program and this University and I am personally grateful for that. She will definitely leave here as one of the most decorated athletes ever to grace this campus. “
Although this marks the end to the cross country season for the Lions, they are looking forward to a successful track season in 2018.
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