No. 1 Lobo women romp at regionals
PROVO, Utah. — In order to achieve their ultimate goal, New Mexico’s No. 1-ranked cross country women didn’t have to win Friday’s NCAA Mountain Regional. But for good measure, they did anyway.
Led again by individual winner Weini Kelati, who won her third individual race, the Lobos placed six runners among the top 16 finishers in the 6-kilometer race at the East Bay Golf Course. And in doing so, they established themselves as serious threats to repeat win their third NCAA title in four seasons.
UNM scored 41 points to outrun second-place runner-up Colorado (53) and host BYU (85) in the 20-team field.
The team title, UNM’s first at the regional since 2011, carries an automatic bid to next Saturday’s NCAA meet in Madison, Wis. The top two teams at each of nine regionals run Friday earn automatic bids. At-large berths will fill out the 31-team NCAA field for each gender. With their résumé, the Lobo women would have been a shoo-in in any case.
Kelati came in at a personal-best 19 minutes, 15.0 seconds to give the Lobo women their third individual winner in as many years, following Alice Wright in 2016 and Ednah Kurgat last year. Kurgat finished behind Kelati at 19:313.7.
New Mexico State’s women, led by top runner Jess Dominguez (55th, 21:20.7) finished 16th.
UNM’s men finished 10th of 17 teams Friday, and they are not expected to get a bid to the NCAAs.
Jared Garcia finished fastest for the Lobo men, completing the 10K course in 29:58.1 for 27th place.