The University of New Mexico remained in the top ten of the NCAA Division I Women's Outdoor Track and Field national rankings in the latest poll.
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's week nine National Track & Field Rating Index dropped New Mexico to No. 7 overall in the standings, though it remains the highest-ranked school in the Mountain West Region.
New Mexico's distance runners have been turning in consistent performances throughout the season, and advanced four competitors to nationals after qualifying in the NCAA West Preliminary in Sacramento, Calif. last weekend.
Weini Kelati, Ednah Kurgat, Adva Cohen and Charlotte Prouse will represent UNM at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship, which begins Wednesday, June 5 in Austin, Texas.
Kelati was recently named Mountain Region Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year. The USTFCCCA announced the sophomore distance runner as the recipient on Friday. A release said Kelati swept the category, having also received the honor during the cross country and indoor track seasons — a feat that was achieved in track and field by her teammate Ednah Kurgat and Josh Kerr in 2018.
Earlier in the year, Kelati managed to break records in the women's 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter events and turned in a time of 15:39.64 to win her heat in the NCAA prelims to punch her ticket to nationals.
New Mexico's four participants will compete in seven distance events and will mark the 13th straight NCAA Championship appearance for the women's squad.
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced via Twitter that the Lobos' seven participants in the distance events are tied for the third most qualifiers by event group.
According to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's website, the top finish for UNM in the NCAA Outdoor Championships was 15th in 2015, but the Lobos could have a realistic chance to improve on that program-best performance and perhaps even crack the top-10 in the final standings — despite being a non-power 5 school.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships are set to take place June 5-8 in Austin, Texas. The women's steeplechase and 10,000-meter events are scheduled for Thursday, June 6, while the 5,000-meter is slated for Saturday, June 8.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball and baseball and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Robert_Maler