In the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships women’s 5000-meter on Saturday, redshirt senior Emily Mackay battled for a top-eight spot in the event against some of the most elite collegiate athletes in the country. With 800 meters left to cover, Mackay gave a final kick to land a seventh-place finish, qualifying for first-team All-American honors.
“I am over the moon to be able to call myself a two-time All-American,” Mackay said, per bubearcats.com. “It was a very tough race and I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but I was able to really gut it out in the last 800 to crack the top eight. It was an amazing experience to race at Hayward Field.”
Mackay’s performance marks her second All-American recognition in 2021 after earning the same honors at the 2021 NCAA D1 Cross Country Championships in March when she finished 14th overall. At Saturday’s meet, all athletes finishing in the top eight earned first-team All-American honors.
The race kicked off with Brigham Young senior Whittni Orton leading the pack. As the event progressed, however, Orton fell back and a six-runner pack took over the lead. Mackay was unable to close the gap on the leading six runners, but managed to position herself into seventh at the close of the race and crossed the line with a time 15:42.38. Her time in the event improved upon her previous personal best and school record performance of 15:48.15.
The Bearcat went head-to-head against difficult competition. The 5000-meter event was captured by NC State graduate student Elly Henes who clocked in at 15:28.05. The athlete who finished sixth, one place ahead of Mackay, ran a time nearly nine seconds faster than the Bearcat. A total of 24 athletes competed in the 5000-meter race.
Mackay qualified for the national competition following a third-place finish in the 5000-meter event at the NCAA East Regional Meet in May. Her appearance at the NCAA national meet made her the second female in BU program history to show at the competition.
Mackay is slated to return with the Bearcats next season.