Houlihan earns All-America honors at nationals

Sophomore Shelby Houlihan earned her first All-America honors last Saturday at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships in Louisville, Ky., finishing in 31st place.

Houlihan ran the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20:11.4.

She was the only Sun Devil at the NCAA Championships because she qualified individually at NCAA West Regionals.

“I’m very proud of Shelby,” women’s coach Ryan Cole said. “It was a great season that was capped off with All-American honors.”

Iowa State senior Betsy Saina took home the NCAA individual title. Dartmouth junior Abbey D’Agostino placed second while Pac-12 senior Jordan Hasay from Oregon finished third.

Houlihan was one of only nine freshmen and sophomore runners who finished in the top 40.

After winning the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year award in 2011 and now becoming an All-American, Houlihan will have high expectations for her last two years of her cross-country career.

“We hope it’s the first of many All-American performances in her future,” Cole said.

She became the first ASU All-American since Kari Hardt, who finished in 39th place back in 2008. Since 1998, Houlihan is only one of 10 Sun Devil All-Americans.

Houlihan has paced the Sun Devils in each and every one of her races here at ASU.

The Sun Devils won’t have to wait until next cross-country season to see her in action again.

The ASU track and field season starts up in mid-January. Last season she set freshmen records in the 800 and 1,500-meters and crushed the school record for the indoor mile with a time of 4:39.54.

“We are really excited for track and field, which is her primary sport,” Cole said.

Houlihan was the first Pac-12 student-athlete to win the Newcomer of the Year award both in cross-country and track and field since the conference has been awarding the honor since in 2000.

 

Reach the reporter at gdemano@asu.edu