Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Tuesday, May 23, 2006
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In spite of a banquet Wednesday night that will cause her to miss the finale of American Idol, the NCAA Track & Field Championships is the perfect place for Muhlenberg senior Danielle Seiler to end her career.

Seiler is one of three members of the Mule women’s team who will NCAA
track travel to Benedictine University, outside Chicago, for the national championship meet, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday. Senior Karen Mount also will cap an outstanding career at the meet, while junior Sarah Mitchell will get her first taste of NCAA competition.

The trio is the largest Muhlenberg contingent ever to compete at the outdoor meet; the women’s team had never sent more than one representative. “It’s great that I’ll be going with two of my
Sarah Mitchell
Mitchell is the first thrower from the Muhlenberg women’s team to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
good friends,” said Seiler. “It’s nice to have a bunch of people cheering for you. It makes you work harder.”

Seiler is speaking from experience, since this will her third straight trip to nationals in the 400 hurdles. She finished 17th as a sophomore and 14th last year. “I definitely feel more experienced since I’ve gone the last two years,” she noted. “I have a different mindset knowing that I belong with the other runners in this meet.”

Seiler has the 15th-best time, but less than a second separates her from second on the performance list. At the ECAC Championships on Friday, Seiler kept pace with athlete who sits fourth on the list, a returning All-American from Rensselaer.

An injury that caused her to miss a good chunk of the outdoor season may work to Seiler’s advantage, as she has not run as much as in previous seasons. She competed in only the 400 hurdles at the Centennial Conference Championships, winning it for the fourth year in a row.

“I guess you could say I’m ‘fresher’ this year,” she said. “Usually at the conference meet I run so many events. I don’t think I’ve peaked yet – hopefully I will on Thursday.”

Like Seiler, Mitchell was sidelined with injury but recovered quickly enough to make the NCAAs in the javelin. Mount, on the other hand, has been there all year long, qualifying for the NCAA meet in cross country before coming up one one-hundredth of a second short of making the indoor track championships in the mile.

Mount began the outdoor season determined not to have another near-miss. She first hit the NCAA provisional mark in the 1,500 in the second outdoor meet, improving her previous best time by more than five seconds, then lowered her mark to within 1.18 seconds of the automatic qualifier in the fourth meet.

“The goal all along was to try to hit as close to the automatic as possible,” said Mount, who has competed in the 1,500 only once in the last month, winning the Centennial Conference championship. “After I did that it was more a matter of staying healthy.”

That strategy worked, and now Mount will attempt to apply a solid strategy to her NCAA race. “The biggest thing for me is to be relaxed in the trials and run a confident race ... Get in a good position early on and then try to outkick as many people as possible,” she said.

Click on the logo for the meet Web site.

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Last updated May 23, 2006