Despite shedding three seconds off her season-best six-kilometer time, redshirt junior Ali Bishel finished in 67th place at the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships on Monday afternoon.
"You go into it to run the best race and beat as many people as you can," cross country coach Randy Heisler said. "Realistically you know your PR and those of the other people. It was a season-best time for Ali; so from that perspective she did well."
After earning First Team All-Mid-American Conference and All-Region honors this year, Bishel missed being selected as an All-American by 20 seconds. The award is given to those who finished in the top 40 of the National Championships.
"Ali would be the first to tell you at the beginning of the year she hoped to win the MAC and be an NCAA All-American," Heisler said. "Those were very good and realistic goals, but she just fell short."
Bishel's time of 21:04 was good enough for second among MAC runners. Toledo University's Ari Fisher finished in 43rd place overall, but only crossed the line 17 seconds ahead of Bishel.
"Fifth place and 70th place were separated by only about a minute difference," Heisler said. "That's how close the race was."
Heisler thinks the pace Bishel set played a big part in her coming up a little short of her goal.
"We talked about not overrunning the first part of the race and I think that came back to get Ali," Heisler said. "She still had a season-best time, but if she did not overrun I think she would have had more kick at the end."
Bishel's finished the race 15 places behind her 52nd place performance from two years ago in 2007.
"It is better to go out hard and not have it, then go out slow and finish in the back of the pack," Heisler said. "There were a lot of good runners that finished behind Ali Bishel."
Although Bishel did not get her desired results, Heisler still looks upon this season on a positive note.
"We try to make sure she realizes even in falling short, she still had a very good season," Heisler said. "She needs to just keep building, get better and run faster."
Next up for Bishel is the indoor track season and another chance at victory.
"We want her to take next week off and keep up her fitness level throughout the holidays," Heisler said. "Once indoors start we want her to just run fast, break records and qualify for the NCAA's."