Miriam Khan earns title of fastest woman in Division III sports

Miriam Khan earns title of fastest woman in Division III sports
miriam khan
Miriam Khan is the first Lion to win a National Championship in the 100-meter dash. Photo (c) Mark Gola.

Winning a national championship in any track and field event is an extraordinary feat, but there’s something a little extra special to taking the top spot in the 100-meter dash. Junior Miriam Khan, a sprinter on TCNJ’s women’s outdoor track and field team, can spend the next 12 months relishing the title of “Fastest Woman in Division III Sports.”

With a blistering time of 11.67 seconds, Khan crossed the finish line first at the 2010 NCAA Division III National Championships at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, OH. She defeated the second-place finisher by a full tenth of a second to assume the peak position.

“There was no one key factor to me winning the race,” said Khan, who was quick to share credit with her coaches in attaining her lofty achievement. “It came from months of hard training and keeping my goal in mind. The entire season my goal was to do well at nationals and that’s all I’d think about during every workout to keep me motivated.”

From a historical standpoint, Khan ran the third fastest time in NCAA history in the 100-meter dash. She missed the all-time record (11.64) by three one-hundredths of a second. Khan is also the first athlete in Lions’ program history to win a national championship in the 100-meter event. (Two Lions have claimed second in the nation: on the women’s side, Debbie Alford ’84 did so in 1981, while Keith Taylor ’78 did so for the men in 1976.)

The last TCNJ athlete to win an individual national championship in outdoor track and field was Tiffany Clark ’06, who won the 400-meter event in 2005. Clark was joined by Brittny Boyd ’06, Khristelle Manuyag ’05, and Jessica Bonelli ’08 to claim the national championship in 4×100-meter relay that same year.

Led by head coach Phil Jennings and assistant coach Justin Lindsey, the Lions are coming off an outstanding season and performance at the NCAA Championships. The team placed eighth in the country at the 2010 NCAAs, which included a second-place finish by senior Jianna Spadaccini ’10 in the 800-meter event and a seventh-place finish by Prisicilla Senyah ’10 in the 55-meter hurdles. In total, seven TCNJ women earned All-American honors. The women’s team also seized its 18th consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference championship.

“Once we got the nerves and jitters out of the way during the first day at NCAAs, the [team] really focused and I was just along for the ride enjoying what they accomplished,” said sprint coach Lindsey, who was recently named The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) 2010 National Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year. “I think we’ve re-established TCNJ as a force in Division III track and field and we have a lot of returning athletes and newcomers to continue that trend next season.”

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