March 18, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame athletic department has been a veritable hive of activity during the month of March, and shows no signs of slowing down heading into April. Amongst a slew of NCAA Championship events, postseason accolades have begun rolling in for numerous student-athletes across many different teams, including Molly Seidel of the track and field program.
Seidel, who won the NCAA Indoor Track Championship in both the women’s 5,000m and 3,000m races, was honored by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), which named Seidel the women’s Div. I National Athlete of the Year in indoor track and field. In addition, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) named her the Women’s Indoor Track Performer of the Year, as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
“These awards are a reflection upon Molly’s ability to prepare for the everyday ups and downs that college life throws your way,” distance and cross country head coach Matt Sparks said. “She has learned how to balance a productive academic and athletic lifestyle, and continues to get stronger as a result.”
At the ACC Indoor Championship Feb. 25-27, Seidel shattered the ACC overall and championship records in the 5,000m, winning the race easily in 15:19.64. Two weeks later, she broke her own record en route to winning the NCAA title in 15:15.21. Her NCAA mark is the third-fastest time in collegiate history.
Seidel ran back-to-back races at the ACC meet, winning the 3,000m in 9:02.24, again setting a conference championship record. In the same manner at the NCAA meet, she ran away from the field en route to her second consecutive NCAA title in 24 hours. Her time of 8:57.86 was over seven seconds faster than runner-up Erin Finn of Michigan. She is merely the fourth woman in meet history to sweep both distance titles, and was the only woman at the 2016 championship to win a pair of individual medals.
Seidel was also tabbed as the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Regional women’s indoor track athlete of the year, and made The Bowerman Award Pre-NCAA Watch List, remaining on the list post-NCAAs. The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation. The Bowerman only takes into considerations accomplishments made during the collegiate track and field seasons, so Seidel’s cross country title won’t factor into final voting. The Bowerman will be presented in December 2016, at the USTFCCCA Coaches Convention in Orlando, Florida. Past winners include Olympic gold medalist, four-time World Champion and decathlon world-record holder Ashton Eaton (2010), 10,000-meter Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp (2009), 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters Jenny Simpson (2009), 2013 100-meter hurdles World Champion Brianna Rollins (2013) as well as 2012 Olympic high jump bronze medalist and 2015 World Champion Derek Drouin (2013).
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Lizzie Mikes serves as Media Services Coordinator at the University of Notre Dame. A 2013 graduate of Johnson & Wales University, she oversees credential management and is the athletic communications director for Fighting Irish men’s and women’s swimming and diving and track and field. She has assisted with numerous NCAA postseason events hosted by Notre Dame, and is heavily involved in the day-to-day tasks of the athletic communications office.