Olivia Howell claims national title at NCAA indoor championships


Photo courtesy of @Illini_tfxc_dir Twitter

Distance track and field senior Olivia Howell on award placement stands during the NCAA indoor championships on Saturday. Howell earned first for the Indoor Miler run during the NCAA championships, breaking a facility record for her first championship with the Illini.

By Adam Rosen, Assistant Sports Editor

Illini senior distance runner Olivia Howell made history at the NCAA indoor championships in Albequerqe, New Mexico, as she shocked those in attendance by rallying to win the national championship for the Indoor Mile Run. Howell completed her race with a time of 4:34:00, setting a facility record.

“(Howell’s) energy was right and followed a great race plan that produced her first NCAA title,” said Petros Kyprianou, director of track & field at the University. “This also resulted in our highest team finish in 10 years which is huge for us in changing the culture and striving for NCAA success. Olivia made history today and gave us the NCAA Championship christening as the new Illini staff.”

For Howell, it was her first championship in her tenure with the orange and blue. Howell was close to shattering the Illinois record for time, which stands at 4:33.75, the record she set back in 2022.

Howell just barely beat out Arkansas’ Lauren Gregory, who finished just .24 seconds behind the 21-year-old Ohio native.

This was not her first taste of success in Illini colors. Howell is a former Big Ten champion for the same race, and she is also an All-American in the 1500-meter race.

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While these were the indoor championships, these will not be the final heats of the season. The indoor season is coming to a wrap, but it paves the way for the outdoor season to begin. Howell has plenty of experience in both, also possessing a Big Ten title in the 1500-meter dash.

The outdoor season will begin in Los Angeles on March 24.


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