Rice University track runner Pam Klassen
Black and white photograph of Rice Owls track and field athlete Pam Klassen, accompanied by text headlining her achievement and entry into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. Caption reads: PAM KLASSEN (class of 1988) is the holder of one of the most impressive records in athletic history, a record that may never be broken. At the 1987 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Klassen ran a time of 9:03.39 en route to earning all-America honors in the 3000 meters. To put that in perspective, Klassen’s time equates to running consecutive four minute and 50-second miles without a rest. Her time and performance becomes even more remarkable when one considers that it was run in early June in Baton Rouge under oppressive heat and humidity by a lightly built runner from Winnipeg, Canada. Klassen had a remarkable career at Rice and her performance at the 1987 NCAA meet was just one of many amazing accomplishments. She won a total of seven all-America awards in both cross country and women’s track and field for Victor Lopez’ teams. Individually, Klassen finished 11th at the 1986 NCAA Cross Country Championships and 25th at the 1985 meet. She also was the top runner on the 1987 team which became the first Rice women’s team to qualify for an NCAA Division I team championship. In track, Klassen held eight individual records, both indoors and outdoors, at the time of her induction, and also was member of a relay record. Her best times as an Owl included 4:18.6 in the 1500 meters, 4:40.86 in the mile, the afore-mentioned 9:30.39 in the 3000 meters and 16:27.72 in the 5000 meters. She captured SWC individual titles in the indoor two-mile in 1987 and the mile in 1988. Additionally, she was named to the first-team SWC women’s team of the decade in cross country for the 1980’s. Even if she hadn’t turned in that amazing performance in Baton Rouge her junior season, Klassen would have been a shoe-in to be inducted into the hall of fame. But let’s go back to the 1987 meet for a second. Klassen was a part of one of the most skilled group of distance runners ever competing at the same time in women’s track and field and ended up in one of those dream races where everyone is ‘on.’ Vicki Huber of Villanova, a 1988 Olympian, would go one to win the 3000 meters that humid afternoon in Baton Rouge. But Klassen hung as long as she could and finished less than 10 seconds back. In fact, Klassen’s time would have won the 3000 meters in all but five championship races during the first 13 years of competition at the NCAA Division I-A level. A 1988 graduate of Rice with a double degree in both economics and managerial studies, she and her husband, Ian, moved from Canada to the Cayman Islands in 1994. At the time of her induction, Pam was working for Peat Marwick KMPG down in the islands as a senior accountant.
Rice University Athletic Hall of Fame
Citable link to this pagehttp://hdl.handle.net/1911/64552
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