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UNM Women Set Record with 27 Points, Eighth Place Finish

AUSTIN, Texas— Battling the Texas heat and running in their second race, and in some cases the third race, of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, The University of New Mexico women’s team made program history after adding 17 points on Saturday to finish with a program-record 27 team points.

The 27 team points placed the Lobos eighth overall in the team standings, giving UNM the highest overall point total as well as finish on the women’s side in the outdoor championships in program history. The previous record was 25 points scored by the UNM men in 1965, which resulted in a UNM program-best fifth-place finish.

For the second straight year and the third time in four years, UNM finished as the top non-Power Five school. In addition, the last time a non-Power Five school scored more points than UNM did was UCF in 2013 with 35 points.

Leading the Lobos in the points on the final day of competition was a runner-up finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase by Charlotte Prouse, the junior’s second straight runner-up result in the event. Prouse completed the race in 9:44.50, a personal best for the Lobo. Her time ranks fourth all-time in program history.

Adva Cohen added five points to the team total following a fourth-place finish in the steeplechase, earning her first NCAA all-America honor with a first team distinction. Her final time of 9:46.36 ranks seventh all-time in program history.

After becoming the first Lobo to win the 10,000-meter on Thursday night for just the second NCAA title on the women’s side, Weini Kelati recorded the highest finish in UNM Lobo program history in the 5,000-meter on either side with her fifth-place finish, running a time of 15:54.46.

In the steeplechase final, the Lobos were aggressive from the start as Prouse moved to the front of the pack of runners immediately with Cohen running directly behind her in fourth. At the end of the first and through the second lap, Prouse sat in second, just 0.04 seconds behind the leader and Cohen in fifth.

Prouse took the lead three laps in by 0.02 seconds with Cohen dropping to sixth, with Prouse holding the lead through the fourth lap and Cohen moving up to fifth. However in the next 400 meters, Cohen made a move up to second where she would hold throughout the fifth lap.

At the bell Cohen was third and Prouse was back in sixth, but Prouse made a push in the final lap running her fastest split of the race of 1:19.44 to finish second.

The 13 points earned in the steeplechase gave UNM 23 points, breaking the program record on the women’s side for highest point total. Previously, the record was 18 points that UNM scored in 2016, which resulted in a then-highest finish in the team standings at 15th place. It also marked the first time that the Lobos had multiple scorers in the steeplechase for the most points earned in a single event on the women’s side. 

Less than two hours later, Cohen and Prouse were back on the track for the 5,000-meter final, joined by Kelati.

Like in typical Kelati races, the sophomore made her way to the front of the pack from the start, running in second through the first three laps, which she would continue to hold her place in second through seven laps. With five laps to go, Kelati was on the hip of Air Force’s Jaci Smith, taking the lead with four laps to go and led with two to go. At the bell, Kelati fell back to third and as the front pack made their final push, Kelati slipped back to fifth, where she would finish. 

Kelati finishes the weekend with her second, first team all-American honor, to bring her career total to nine. Of those nine, five were from this year alone, three were earned in the outdoor championships and eight were of the first team variety.

Prouse found her surge in the middle of the race, getting as high as ninth in the race before finishing 15th at 16:26.57 for a second team all-America finish. Combined with her first team all-America honor in the steeplechase, Prouse now has nine all-America nods in her career, eight as a Lobo, her fifth first team distinction and her fifth all-America honor this season.

On the weekend, UNM had four first team all-Americans and two second team all-Americans, with Kelati earning two first team and Prouse earning one of each. The Lobos scored in all three events they ran in with Kelati accounting for 14 of UNM’s points. Kelati’s 14 points are the most points scored by a Lobo at the outdoor championship and she is the first Lobo to score in multiple events since Lavern Clarke finished eighth in both the triple and long jump in 1990. 

The Lobos conclude the 2018-19 track and field season with two top-10 NCAA championship finishes in two historic performances. Earlier this year, Kelati, Prouse and Kurgat set a program record in points and standing in the indoor championship with 23 points and a fifth-place finish. UNM picked had 12 all-American selections with Kelati and Prouse tallying four each.