Payne grabs All-American in the 3,000

By Doug Fitzgerald published May 25, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Shannon Payne earned All-American honors in one event and qualified for the finals in another Friday at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Irwin Belk Stadium.

Payne finished seventh in the finals of the 3,000-meter run, posting a personal-best time of 9 minutes, 58.08 seconds. Approximately two hours later, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs junior grabbed the final qualifying spot in the 5,000 meters with a time of 9:48.07.

She's scheduled to compete for her second All-American honor in the finals of the 5,000 Saturday at 7:43 p.m. EST.

With Grand Valley State's Mandi Zemba setting a new meet record in the 3,000 with a time of 9:09.40, the rest of the pack was competing for spots 2-12. As is her preference, Payne set the pace.

"She executed our race plan exactly," said UCCS coach Graeme Badger. "She set the pace with the second pack."

Less than 20 seconds separated second-place Jill Winkler of Wisconsin-Parkside from 12th-place Jane Larson of Seattle Pacific. Payne finished 2.06 seconds out of third place.

"I'm happy with it," said Payne. "I wanted to make All-American so I have no regrets about it."

With one All-American in the bag, Payne set her sights on a second. With track temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, Badger had a plan to get Payne ready for her next race.

"Now the trick is to re-hydrate and get a little rest to get ready for the 5,000 prelims," said Badger between races.

Apparently it worked. Payne came back to grab to qualify for Saturday's finals. She narrowly edged Kutztown's Stephanie Williams by 2.35 seconds for the 12th and final seed. This time she'll have more than 24 hours to recover.

"I'd like to finish in the top eight again and get on the podium one more time," said Payne. "That would be cool."

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