An injury forced Alexandra Whitford to miss the 2014 outdoor track season. So for the past four years, she had the 2018 outdoor season targeted as being her final one. Four years is a long time to wait, and having used up all of her indoor track eligibility, the 2018 outdoor season seemed like it existed in the distant future for much of Whitford's career at Hillsdale College.
The wait was worth it.
Whitford put together her best national meet performance on Thursday, finishing third in the pole vault and achieving All-American status at the 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held in Charlotte, North Carolina.
She cleared 3.85 meters on one attempt at her third height, giving her a third-place finish and breaking a tie with several other vaulters who also cleared 3.85 meters. Ties are broken in this event by how many attempts it takes an athlete to clear a particular height. Whitford cleared 3.75 meters on her second attempt at that height.
This was Whitford's second career All-American honor but first during the outdoor campaign. She won her first All-American honor during the 2017 indoor championships.
Other national qualifiers from the women's team included Abbie Porter, Hannah McIntyre and Allysen Eads. Porter finished 18th in the prelims of the 800 meter run with a time of 2:13.13. Eads was 15th overall in the prelims of the 3000 meter steeplechase at 10:43.97. McIntyre did not finish the 10,000 meter run, and ran a 17:45.3 in the final race of her magnificent career in the 5000 meter championship.