LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Massachusetts redshirt senior Heather MacLean has become the first All-American in UMass women’s cross country history after finishing 26th at the NCAA Championships on Saturday morning at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
The Peabody, Massachusetts, native completed the 6K course with a time of 20 minutes 3.5 seconds, earning All-America honors as a result of her top-40 finish in the field of 255 runners.
“Heather is the most talented middle-distance runner to come through this program,” said head coach Julie LaFreniere. “On top of that, she is also probably the most coachable student-athlete we’ve had. From the time she stepped on campus, she has made the right decisions to be a successful scholar-athlete. Coaching her has been a joy over the past five years and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way. Her dedication, hard work and commitment has paid off.”
MacLean’s performance caps her stellar 2017 cross country season, which saw her win her second straight Atlantic 10 individual cross country title and capture the individual title at the 2017 New England Championships. Last Friday MacLean became the fifth NCAA qualifier in program history by virtue of her fifth-place finish at the Northeast Regional Championships.
For her performance at the New England meet, MacLean was tabbed the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week for women's Division I cross country for the second time in her career. In her other two 2017 races, MacLean opened the season with a victory at the Minuteman Invitational and took seventh at the prestigious Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown.
MacLean’s All-America honor is the second of her career as she made history in March 2016 when she took ninth in the mile final at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to become the first indoor track and field All-American in the history of the UMass women's track and field program.