skip navigation

2018 Hillsdale College Athletic Hall of Fame: Amanda Eccleston

2018 Hillsdale College Athletic Hall of Fame: Amanda Eccleston

Brad Monastiere has been the sports information director at Hillsdale College since 2005 and has served as the chair of the athletic hall of fame committee since 2015. Here is his accounting of 2018 Hillsdale College Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Amanda Eccleston

Three-thousandths of a second. Human beings can't even distinguish one thought or one item of perception that fast.

Yet, that period of time is as wide as an ocean for Amanda Eccleston.

That's how close she came to qualifying for the 2016 Olympic team in the 1500 meter run, the event she set records in during her amazing career at Hillsdale College. The 1500 is a challenging event. Not really a sprint. Not really a true distance event. But it's a race that embodies the phrase "hurry up and wait."

Undeterred from that Olympic near-miss, Amanda has rededicated herself to training for the 2020 Olympics. Setting goals is a given for any distance runner, but there is rarely a straight line from goal-setting and goal-achieving. Such was the case for Amanda.

After turning in a solid track season in 2008-09, she got bitten by the injury bug and saw setbacks in her progress as a runner through much of the middle two years of her Charger career. But those setbacks, however temporary, would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. More on that in a bit.

As Amanda recovered her form after injury, she showed signs of becoming something special. She earned All-American honors and finished fifth in the mile at the 2011 NCAA Division II indoor track championships. But that would just be a prelude to what she would do the following year.

She qualified for the 2012 NCAA indoor track championships in the 800 and the mile. In the prelims of each event, she finished third and seventh, respectively, qualifying for the finals, while not necessarily positioning herself as the favorite going into the finals of those events. All she did was win the national championship in both races, elevating her into legendary status in Charger athletic history over the course of just a few hours on March 10, 2012. Again, adversity early, ultimate success later.

Early adversity early in Amanda's career, in the form of those aforementioned injuries, granted her one more year of college eligibility, which she utilized at the University of Michigan. Making the jump from a Division II to a Big Ten program is an insurmountable leap for most athletes. Not Amanda.

While competing for Michigan in the 2012-13 school year, Amanda was a key part of the Wolverines' Big Ten women's cross country championship team, adding yet another trophy to a career chok-full of them.

As a Charger, Amanda ushered in a new era of success for the women's track and cross country teams in more ways than one. She was the student-athlete representative at the groundbreaking of the Margot V. Biermann Athletic Center on May 11, 2012. She spoke at the ceremony with eloquence and knowledge, as if she somehow knew of all the successes that would come the way of the program once the building opened. Hillsdale went on to achieve five top-3 finishes at NCAA championships between 2014 and 2016. Although Amanda was not on the roster for any of those teams, her excellence would serve as an invaluable example to those teams of what is possible with hard work and perseverance.