Birmingham, Ala. -- Lynchburg College graduate student Natalie Deacon (West Chester, Pa.) became the women's track & field program's first two-time indoor All-American, finishing sixth in the 1-mile at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday afternoon at the CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala.
Deacon, who finished in 4:59.06, was one of three runners in the field to repeat as an All-America miler from the 2017 championship meet. She finished seventh a season ago.
While Saturday's race wasn't a personal best or eye-popping time, it was the way Deacon finished that made the race commendable. Falling behind the leaders, Deacon stormed back on the final lap to lay claim to sixth.
"It was one of the most gutsy closes I've ever seen," Lynchburg distance coach Jake Reed said. "Races don't always go as planned, but how you react is what defines you. That is what sets Natalie apart."
This year, Deacon squeezed into Saturday's final by earning the last spot in Friday afternoon's preliminary race by just .21 seconds.
Her performance is just the fifth indoor All-American honor by a Lynchburg women's track & field athlete, following her own a season ago, Ashley Palmer in 2004, Vicki Osinga in 2000, and Amy Edwards in 1996. Combined with outdoor national accolades, Deacon joins Palmer as the only other three-time All-America track & field nominee; Deacon also finished in the top eight in the outdoor 1,500 national championship last year.
This season, she was All-South/Southeast Region in the 800-meter run, the 1-mile, the 3,000-meter run, and the distance medley relay for Lynchburg.
Prior to competing for the Hornets on the track, Deacon was a three-time All-ODAC selection and an Academic All-America selection for Lynchburg's women's soccer teams.
She and the rest of the Hornets will set their sights on the outdoor season, which began this weekend for Lynchburg at the UNC Wilmington Seahawk Invitational.