The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 24, 2014

Runner earns All-America honors

Webb City graduate also wins Elite 89 Award

Andrew Pisechko picked the right time to run his personal best.

The Arkansas Razorbacks middle distance runner, who graduated from Webb City High School, earned All-America honors by helping his distance medley relay team finish seventh at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Pisechko ran the 800-meter leg of the relay in 1 minute, 49.5 seconds, improving on his previous best by nearly a full second.

“Yeah, it was the best time to do it,” Pisechko said.

“Breaking the 1:50 mark in the 800 is kind of like breaking four minutes in the mile. It was kind of a mental thing for me. Now, I’ve gotten through that barrier and I’m looking forward to a strong outdoor seeason.”

Pisechko, a sophomore, also was recently honored with the Elite 89 Award for his continued academic success. He is the first student-athlete in University of Arkansas history to win the award. The Elite 89 Award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 89 championships.

Pisechko has a 4.0 grade-point average and his effort on the relay team helped the Razorbacks to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Indoor meet. He is an accounting major and information systems minor.

“It’s an honor,” he said. “Being the first to do it definitely makes it more special.”

A three-sport athlete at Webb City, Pisechko was a two-time state qualifier in track and field. He finished ninth in the 800 and 10th in the 1,600 as a senior in 2011.

“I didn’t start running track until my freshman year in high school,” he said. “I ended up being a good high school runner, but I didn’t consider myself in the class of the top guys. I didn’t think of myself as next level.”

But Pisechko sought out the opportunity to run with the Razorbacks.

“I wanted the chance to compete,” he said.

He redshirted as a freshman and has molded himself into an All-American at one of the top track and field programs in the nation.

“Year in and year out, Arkansas is in contention for a title,” Pisechko said. “That alone makes you want to work harder. It’s really cool to be a part of this.”

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