GENEVA, Ohio -- Ana Richter of Rocky Mountain College earned All-America status Saturday afternoon by finishing eighth in the mile at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the SPIRE Institute.
Richter, a junior from Billings, clocked in at 5:06.18, finishing just ahead of sophomore teammate Rachael Hart of Kalispell, who was ninth in the field of 12 runners at 5:10.87.
"It was by far my best race," said the 2010 Billings Skyview graduate, who was making her first appearance at the indoor nationals. "It's good competition. It pushes you and brings you along."
The top eight finishers in each event received All-America recognition.
Richter is Rocky's first All-American since the indoor distance track program was revived four years ago at the school. Her mile time on Saturday was both a school record and personal best.
Hart's clocking was also a PR.
"She was pushing me as well," Richter said of her teammate. "We both battled it out."
Junior Hillary Holt of College of Idaho won the mile at 4:49.49. Carroll College's Bailey Hughes was fifth at 5:02.37.
Rocky coach Alan King said both Richter and Hart "gave it their all" and were in position with a lap to go to finish anywhere from third to ninth.
Richter's finish also led to the first team point being awarded to Rocky in recent years.
"It was a great time for her and a great time for us," King said. "We came away from this meet learning a lot about what we need to do in future events."
"I just feel real grateful and blessed to go and run and do this," Richter said. "For me, I'm just thankful."
In other action earlier in the meet, Richter and Hart were also part of Rocky's distance medley relay, which didn't qualify for the finals after placing 15th out of 22 teams in the prelims with its clocking of 12:35.51.
Rocky's Noah Kiprono placed 20th out of 26 runners in the 3,000 meters prelims with his time of 8:50.10. Teammate Shawn Peden was 16th out of 18 runners in the 800 meters prelims at 1:57.37.
Kiprono and Peden also didn't make the finals.