Lincoln, Neb. / Pius X
St. Thomas star runner Erin Stats (Lincoln, Neb./Pius X) appears to be back to her old self after missing the 2013 cross country season with an injury. The Tommie senior returned to her All-American form with a top-six finish and the top Division III time at the competitive Augustana (S.D.) Twilight Invitational while leading UST to a top-five team finish. Monday, Statz was named the USTFCCCA Division III Athlete-of-the-Week for her performance and, Tuesday, the MIAC sports information directors added another honor to her big week as she was named the MIAC Women's Cross Country Athlete-of-the-Week.
Statz completed the 3-mile course with a tremendous time of 16:32 to finish sixth in a field of 266 runners, with a blazing per-mile average time of 5:31. Statz was the top Division III runner in a meet filled with NCAA Division I and II and NAIA talent, as the only runners to finish ahead of her were on scholarship. Statz was a 2012 Division III All-American before missing 2013 with an injury, and she's a three-time All-MIAC performer with top-10 finishes at the conference meet in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The Tommies will have a 14-day break to rest up after their top-five performance, as they prepare for a huge race on the national stage. Statz and her teammates will compete in the National Catholic Championships on Sept. 19. The meet will begin that day at 3:30 p.m. and it will be held in South Bend, Ind.