Gearity Places Second, Earns All-America Honors at NCAA Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships

Delaware, OH (5/28/11) –Freshman Heather Gearity (Rutherford, NJ / Rutherford) came within a second of winning a national championship but instead settled for runner-up as she finished second in the 400 meter hurdles at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Ohio Wesleyan University's Selby Field and Gauthier Track on Saturday afternoon.

Gearity ran a personal-best time of 1:00.57 as she finished second to Laura Barito of Stevens. Gearity led the race just past the halfway point, but fell back to fourth as the remainder of the field closed together. But Gearity made one last move with two hurdles to go and surged back to second as the race's close.

Gearity earned All-America honors for her finish.

Gearity posted a time of 1:01.18 finishing second in her heat during the prelminaries on Thursday evening. She was looking to become just the fourth MSU woman athlete to claim a national title. Moniques Riddick was the last two claim at championship as she won the shot put in 2009. Nacole Moore took top honors in the shot put in 2002 and Tierra Hicks captured the 400 hurdles the following year.

The runner-up finish capped off an outstanding first outdoor season for Gearity, who named the NJAC Rookie of the Year. She won the 400 hurdles at the NJAC Championships and recorded her automatic qualifying mark for the NCAAs at the Penn Relays on April 28. She registered a time of 1:01.21 seconds which at the time was the fastest in the nation.

On Friday evening, sophomore Ashadaya Patterson (Trenton, NJ / Northern Burlington), fell short in her bid to reach the finals of the 100 meter hurdles. Patterson timed in a 14.51 seconds, just missing a spot in the top eight individuals that advanced to the finals.

Gearity abd Patterson tried to help the 4x400 relay into that final on Thursday however that group failed to advance as they registered a time of 3:55.02. The duo were joined on that relay by Michelle McNulty (Bayonne, NJ / Bayonne) and Ashley Powell (East Orange, NJ / Marylawn of the Oranges).