Not many things can happen in one-hundredth of a second, but Mississippi State's Marta Freitas showed that that small length of time can be the difference in winning a championship or finishing as the runner-up as she captured the NCAA 1500m championship Saturday night for the Bulldogs with a time of 4:09.53, holding off Stanford's Elise Cranny, who posted a time of 4:09.54.
"I just didn't know if this would ever be possible," an overwhelmed Freitas said post race. "This has been the most important day in my collegiate career, and I did it, and I'm so excited and emotional. I'm just so excited because this was a field of amazing athletes, and I'm the national champion right now."
Last year, Freitas also had an emotional moment of a completely different kind on the track at Heyward Field at the University of Oregon when she fell and broke her wrist on the track. Needless to say, the emotions in 2016 were much more enjoyable.
"I just felt so bad for her last year," Mississippi State assistant coach Houston Franks said. "And to come back and have the kind of year she had speaks volume of her work ethic, dedication and the type of person she is. I couldn't be more proud. It was a great day for Marta, and none of us will ever forget this moment."
Freitas, who held second place after the race's first lap, moved into the lead during the second lap, and the Portugal native never surrendered that lead.