Kelati Wins Blue Division Individual Title at Notre Dame Invitational
NOTRE DAME, Ind.— New Mexico junior Weini Kelati picked up right where she left off during the 2018 cross country season at the Joe Piane – Notre Dame Invitational on Friday morning, winning the Blue Division race in 16:01.61.
In her first cross country race of the season, Kelati finished 12.12 seconds ahead of the runner-up finisher, Alicia Monson of Wisconsin, to earn the individual title.
Friday’s win marked her fourth individual win in the last two years and was a vast improvement of five places and 22.29 seconds from her last appearance at Notre Dame in which she finished sixth with a time of 16:23.9 in her Lobo debut in 2017.
Fellow Lobo Ednah Kurgat gave The University of New Mexico women two top-five finishers with a fifth-place result after navigating the course at the Burke Golf Course in 16:23.81.
Alondra Negron was the third scorer for the No. 2 Lobos at 36th with a time of 16:57.45, followed by Hannah Nuttall’s 48th-place result of 17:04.24. Rounding out the scoring for UNM was Brenda Rosales-Coria, running a 17:30.20 in her first race as a Lobo, placing 86th in scoring overall.
In a highly competitive field that contained 11 nationally ranked teams, (RV) Utah took the Blue Division team title in an upset with 110 points with three runners in the top-20, edging out Colorado’s 116 points. The Lobos placed seventh in the team standings with 176 points.
Kelati led at the 4K split of the 5,000-meter race by 12.9 seconds over Anna Rohrer of Notre Dame, clocking 12:52.6, and was averaging a 5:10.3 mile time. By the time Kelati claimed the win, she had trimmed her average mile time to 5:09.2. Kurgat checked in at sixth with 13:10.6. As a team, the Lobos were seventh in the team scoring with 180 points.
Competing in the Blue Division against 12 nationally ranked teams, the Lobo men finished 17th in the team standings with 450 points, 16 points ahead of Mountain West school and No. 13 Colorado State.
Will Fuller was the top finisher for UNM, completing the 5-mile course in 24:16.63 for a 55th-place result in his first race as a Lobo. Jared Garcia was the next to cross in 78th at 24:31.12, followed by Toby Cooke in 24:43.41 for 98th. Reece Donihi was the fourth scorer for the Lobos, adding 101 points to the team score with a time of 24:45.58 and Nehemiah Cionelo completed the scoring with 118 points behind a 25:00.71 time.
The Lobos fluctuated in the team standings as the race went on, coming in at 19th with 429 points (41-78-80-113-117) at the 4K split with Fuller leading the Lobos in 41st at 11:36.2. Garcia was the second Lobo in the group in 78th at 11:45.9, followed closely behind by Cooke (11:46.0, 80th).
However, the Lobos made a move by the 7K split, moving up to 10th in the team standings with 239 points with Cooke taking the lead for the Cherry and Silver in 21.03.1 for 25th in the team scoring, 31st overall. Fuller followed behind at 21.03.5 and sat in 27th in the team scoring, 33rd overall.
UNM also had four runners in the women’s Open Division, with Grace Williams leading the Lobos with a 22nd-place finish in 17:59.02.
Up next for UNM is the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational to be held on Friday, Oct. 18 in Madison, Wis., at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.