University of New Mexico sophomore Weni Kelati is the NCAA Women’s 10,000 meter outdoor champion. Kelati held off Oregon’s Carmela Cardama Baez Thursday night to win with a time of 33.10.84. Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer set the pace early in the race in Austin, Texas Thursday night. She would later fall off and finish sixth overall.
Kelati and her UNM teammate, Ednah Kurgat, ran second and third early in the race, but Kurgat would lose steam and drop back as the pack of runners started to thin out. Kurgat finished ninth overall. After Kelati worked her way into first place, she stretched her advantage and appeared to be getting stronger with only five laps left in the race.
When the bell sounded signaling the final lap Cardama Baez made her move. She closed the gap on Kelati and actually caught her down the stretch.
That’s when Kelati shifted into another gear and finished the race strong, separating from Cardama Baez to cross the line first. “There is runners who have ability to push from the begining and I was like I am going to prepare mentally and physically and deal with it,” said Kelati.
Kelati will compete again Saturday when she runs in the women’s 5,000 meters.