WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. With a third-place finish in the 800m run at the NCAA Division II National Championships, Chase Rathke will return home with a bronze medal and All-American status in Tarleton's inaugural indoor season.

"There aren't many words to describe how I'm feeling right now," said Rathke. "I'm pretty excited. We knew coming in that whether I finished first or eighth, I was an All-American, but to finish in the top three is pretty amazing."

The mid-distance runner from Crawford hit a personal best in the run by running a 1:51.78, which is 0.11 seconds faster than his NCAA provisional mark on February 14 at Texas Tech. Rathke's time was 2.05 seconds off the leader.

"It's a great feeling and I'm proud of him," said Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder. "He put it all out there and that's all you can ask for. Any time you can PR and run the third fastest time in the nation, it bodes well for your season. It was a great ending to a first indoor year."

Rathke and Ponder will return home to Texas and continue with the outdoor track and field season, beginning at the ASU Spring Break meet on March 20.