LA CROSSE, Wis. - Hendrix College junior Elizabeth Krug came from behind to become a national champion by winning the heptathlon at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships at Roger Harring Stadium on Friday.
After sitting in sixth place after the first four events on Friday, the Heber Springsnative climbed up the standings after each event on Friday and when the dust settled, she bested 21 other student-athletes with a school record 4,835 points.
It's Hendrix's first national championship in any sport in NCAA Division III.
Krug started the day with a long jump of 5.18 meters (17 ft.), tying for 12th. She followed it up with the third-best javelin throw of 36.30 meters (119 ft.-1 in.), moving her into fourth place before the final event. Krug wrapped her magical performance with a fifth place finish in the 800 meters in 2:26.17.
Krug edged Theresa Ford of Emory, who scored 4,828 points, and Megan Stringer of Illinois College with 4,822 points.
"Both days were 'grind it out' days," said ninth-year head coach Patrick MacDonald. "She had a great start and finish to day one, but the middle events were not spectacular. It wasn't until we got back and saw that everyone was in the same boat that we started to really think that she had a great shot at winning.
"Going into the 800. I knew it was going to be tight. Her first lap was a little too relaxed, and then with 200 meters to go, she started to push, but Beth Stam from George Fox was right behind her, and I knew she was going to be too close to hold off, but she started to fade down the homestretch. But I was too far away to see the finish.
"I really didn't think she had done it. They flashed the scores up on the scoreboard and I caught a glimpse, and thought it was a mistake. Elizabeth thought it was, too. It wasn't until the next cycle around that I realized that it was the actual final results, and she had won by seven points.
"She has poured herself into this event for six years, she's a deserving champion. She has always had grace, no matter the result the last few years, and she was a great champion today."
On Thursday, Krug won the 200-meter dash with a school record of 25.31. She had the fifth best shot put with a throw of 10.64 meters (34 ft.-11 in.). Krug ran the 100 meters in 15.12 seconds and cleared the high jump at 1.51 meters (4 ft.-11.5 in.).
With the national title, Krug earned her fourth All-American award in three seasons, having placed seventh in the heptathlon as a freshman and sixth last season. She earned All-American stats in the pentathlon with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships in March.