University of New Mexico runners have accomplished a lot over the past several years — two NCAA Championships over a three year stretch in cross country and multiple individual championships in track and field over that time frame as well.
But a quartet of women raised the bar even higher for UNM as most competed in multiple events at the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Ednah Kurgat and Weini Kelati competed in the women's 10,000-meter run, Adva Cohen and Charlotte Prouse entered their names into the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Cohen, Kelati and Prouse all three raced in the 3,000-meter run.
Even though Arkansas, which was the favorite heading into the championships, held off the University of Southern California to emerge as NCAA Champions, New Mexico grabbed some headlines after its women collected 27 points to place in the top-10 overall — the best finish by a non-power 5 school.
The 27 points and the eighth-place team finish were both tops in the program's history and each of the women turned in solid performances while competing against the nation's top collegiate athletes on the biggest stage along the way.
Former UNM standout and eventual 2016 Olympian Courtney Frerichs set the record for the women's 3000-meter steeplechase to win an individual title at the NCAA Championships in June 2016. That event yielded big points this time around as well, as Charlotte Prouse ran a personal best 9:44.50 in a runner-up performance while teammate Adva Cohen finished just seconds behind her for a fourth-place finish to tally 13 points in the steeplechase.
Sophomore sensation Weini Kelati turned in the best time ever recorded at Mike A. Myers Stadium in the women's 10,000-meter run. She edged out Oregon's Carmela Cardama Baez by less than a second to win the race with a time of 33:10.84. Kurgat's time of 33:34.67 was got enough for ninth place.
Kelati's individual national title garnered the Lobos 10 more points, though she wasn't done added to the team total.
Her legs didn't get much rest as she returned to the track less than 48 hours later to compete in the 5,000-meter run. Not only did she have enough in the reserves to score, she completed the race in just over 16 minutes to place fifth overall. Her teammate Prouse placed 15th, while Cohen did not finish.
Some high notes on the women's side included Louisiana State freshman Sha'Carri Richardson erasing a 30-year old record in the 100-meter dash. She eclipsed the previous record by .03 seconds with a time of 10.75 seconds. It was the fastest time clocked by someone under the age of 20 and tied the ninth-best mark overall in the world history of the event. Richardson was the leading point-getter in the 2019 Outdoor Championships with 20 points — accounting for nearly half of her team's overall score of 43.
On the men's side, Grant Holloway of Florida made it a 3-peat in the 110-meter hurdles, laying waste to a collegiate record that Renaldo Nehemiah held for 40 years — narrowly breaking the 13 second barrier with a time of 12.98. Kentucky's Daniel Roberts matched Nehemiah's 13.00 mark, but had to settle for second place.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Daniel Michalsky of Indiana and Steven Fahey of Stanford were essentially neck-and-neck entering the final two obstacles. Fahey took advantage of Michalsky falling at the water jump, but took a tumble himself after tripping on the final barrier. Fahey was somehow able to collect himself and hang on to win the event.
Texas Tech took top honors with an overall team score of 60 to win the men's 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
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 email@example.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler