Dani Jones of Colorado split 4:31 on the 1600m leg of the women's distance medley relay to lead the Buffaloes to an NCAA indoor title in College Station, Texas, on Friday night.
The team was made up of Tabor Scholl, Elissa Mann, Sage Hurta, and Jones. The 2016 NCAA 1500m finalist was four seconds behind the leaders when she received the baton and quietly stalked down the competition, namely Elise Cranny of Stanford and Katie Rainsberger of Oregon. Colorado won in 11:00.34. Fellow Pac-12 Conference members Stanford was runner-up in 11:00.36, and Oregon finished third in 11:00.68. It was the first time in event history that a conference swept the top three spots.
The Buffs' official splits were 3:27.22 (Scholl), 56.4 (Mann), 2:05.02 (Hurta), and 4:31.71 (Jones).
Many expected an Oregon win after the Ducks set the collegiate record of 10:48.77 in January. However, four-time NCAA 800m champion Raevyn Rogers was swapped out for Brooke Feldmeier in the relay on Friday night. Feldmeier's 2:05.04 split was the second-fastest in the field but put the Ducks behind Michigan and Indiana at the final exchange.
Indiana anchor Katherine Receveur, whose breakout season included a 4:33 split in this event at the Alex Wilson Invitational, dropped the baton with 400m remaining, and suddenly, the Hoosiers were out of contention. At the bell lap, Ducks star freshman Rainsberger, fourth at the NCAA XC Championship, owned the lead with Stanford's Elise Cranny nipping at her heels and Jones of Colorado lurking in third. Cranny moved past Rainsberger on the final curve, in what appeared to be the definitive move of the race, but Jones had some gas left and slipped by both women for the win.
Jones, Cranny, Rainsberger, and Receveur will face Karissa Schweizer of Missouri, the NCAA XC champion and the Friday's 5K champion, in the 3K on Saturday.
Watch the thrilling finish to the Women's Championship DMR below: