Fiona Smith earns sixth national title in final competition at CSB

Athletics Campus & Community Student Features

May 23, 2024

By Frank Rajkowski

In her final competition at the College of Saint Benedict, Fiona Smith turned in a pair of All-American performances, including the sixth national title of her career.

The standout senior distance runner took first place in the women’s 10,000-meter run at the 2024 NCAA Division III outdoor national track and field meet Thursday night (May 23) at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Despite a humidity level of over 80 percent, Smith finished in a facility-record time of 34 minutes and 27.32 seconds – over 27 seconds faster than New York University senior Grace Richardson, who finished second in a time of 34:55.05.

"It was a really hot and humid night out here, so kind of tough conditions to race a 10K,” Smith said after the race. “(I’m a) little sore and need to get hydrated, but I’m really happy and really grateful I was able to come away with a title tonight."

"Every title is so special,” CSB head coach Robin Balder-Lanoue added. “Every one of them is a different experience. But this one was extra special with it being (her) first outdoor one, and with her going in with a plan and executing it brilliantly. She feels really good about how things went."

Smith followed that performance with a third-place finish in the women’s 5,000 Saturday night (May 25), finishing in a time of 16:48.87. Wilmington (Ohio) sophomore Faith Duncan won the event in a time of 16:44.12.

Because of a lengthy rain delay, that race did not begin until 10 p.m. local time (9 p.m. CDT).

"The conditions were hot and humid and Fiona ran a gritty race," Balder-Lanoue said of Smith's performance Saturday. "She raced so hard and dug so deep. I couldn't be more proud of her and how she raced. Her grit and character really showed today."

A math major and Hispanic studies and computer science minor who maintains a 4.0 GPA, Smith graduated from CSB earlier this month. She will attend graduate school at Division I North Carolina State beginning next fall and use the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted all student-athletes due to the impact of COVID-19 to compete for the Wolfpack.

She finishes her time at CSB as a six-time national champion (the only team or individual national titles in school history) and a 16-time All-American across cross country and track and field.

Smith’s teammate - sophomore Jaylyn Ahlberg - competed in the pole vault Thursday, finishing in a three-way tie for 18th place with a height of 3.56 meters (11-foot-8) in her first appearance at the national meet. She finished her first season at CSB with nine pole vault wins this spring, including both the MIAC indoor and outdoor titles.

Washington University junior Yasmin Ruff won the event with a height of 4.06 meters (13-feet-3 3/4).

Check out coverage from Thursday and Saturday at

In the men’s competition, Saint John’s University senior Kevin Arthur - who was competing at outdoor nationals for the fourth-straight season - earned All-American honors by finishing fifth in the men’s 100-meter dash in a time of 10.54 seconds Saturday. Wisconsin-La Crosse junior Sam Blaskowski won the event in a time of 10.24.

Arthur also competed in the 200, finishing with the 11th-fastest time of the day (21.26 seconds) in preliminary competition Thursday, which was not enough to advance to Saturday’s final. He had been the top seed in the 200 entering the competition.

Arthur’s teammate Jackson McDowell - a junior who is in his first season competing in track and field - earned All-American honors in the men’s high jump Friday (May 24), clearing a height of 2.08 meters (6-foot-9 3/4) to finish in eighth place overall.

Johnnies junior Max Lelwica wrapped up competition in the decathlon Friday, finishing with a total score of 6,225, which placed him 19th overall. Williams junior Jackson Anderson won the event with a score of 7,063.

Find additional coverage from ThursdayFriday and Saturday at

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