UST distance standout Taylor Berg (SR-Eagan) traveled to California to compete last week. As a memory of her trip, she's back on campus with two fast times -- plus, a National Athlete of the Week award for NCAA Division III women announced Monday from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
On Tuesday, she was named MIAC Track Athlete of the Week, too. It's the fifth time in her track/CC career that Berg has received an individual or relay weekly honor as conference Athlete of the Week.
Berg traveled from chilly Minnesota to the sunshine of Walnut, Calif., for the Mt. SAC Relays. She returned with a pair of blazing times, including the Division III-leading 5,000 meter time of 16:34.51 and the No. 5-ranked 1,500 time of 4:28.49.
Having never before competed at 5,000 meters in an outdoor track and field setting, Berg won her section of the event against a field of 35 Division I and II student-athletes. She ran with the pack through 4,600 meters before pulling away for the win on the final lap with a 65.7 split.
One day before, Berg finished second at 1500 meters — again against all Division I and II competition — with a strong second half of the race to set a new school record. She just the second Tommie woman in the last 25 years to break 4:29 for 1,500 meters.
A five-time All-America and five-time MIAC champion on her career, Berg placed eighth in the NCAA cross country meet last fall to repeat as All-America. She was named Central Region Track Athlete of the Year for indoors 2013, and now is a part of four school records. She also ran on an NCAA champion distance medley relay as a freshman in 2010.
Berg will run in the 4x800 and distance medley relays next weekend at the Drake Relays in Des Moines.