Kelati Leads Lobos at Nuttycombe with Runner-Up Finish
MADISON, Wis.— In similar fashion to the 2018 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, University of New Mexico runner Weini Kelati finished runner-up on Friday morning in the women’s championship race, finishing second behind Wisconsin runner Alicia Monson, who took the title over Kelati last season.
The junior ran in the front of the pack from the start of the race, running fourth at the 2K split before moving in to first at the halfway point, which she would hold through the 4K checkpoint as she created some separation. Monson closed the gap that the Lobo created and took the lead soon after that, and would maintain the lead through the rest of the 6K race at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. Kelati crossed the line at 19:48.6 to claim runner-up in the premier race.
Fellow Lobo Ednah Kurgat took an early lead through the first 2K, but fell back at the 4K mark to 13th overall before finishing 18th overall at 20:22.1.
From there, however, there was a bit of a drop-off as Hannah Nuttall was the third UNM runner to cross, finishing in 21:09.1 for 77th overall, followed by Gracelyn Larkin in 92nd at 21:15.9. Larkin improved on her placement as the race progressed, moving from 134th to 124th to 92nd each 2K of the race. Rounding out the scoring for the women was Alexandra Harris in 113th, finishing at 21:22.8.
Brenda Rosales-Coria (21:38.7) and Juanita Johnson (21:41.1) completed the entries for the Lobos in the “A” race, with Rosales-Coria improving 31 spots from the start to the finish of the race.
As a team, the No. 4 Lobos finished ninth in the team standings with 302 points, as No. 1 Arkansas took the team title with 62 points behind four runners in the top 10.
In the men’s “A” race, William Fuller led the Lobos for the second straight race, pacing the Lobos with an 82nd-place showing of 24:29.0, but was 80th in team scoring. The Lobo started off strong, running steady in 29th at the 2K marker and 36th at the halfway point of the 8K race.
Jared Garcia was the second Lobo scorer of the day in 103rd (101 points in team scoring) with a time of 24:37.6 after improving 40 spots in the last half of the race. Behind him just 0.7 seconds later was Toby Cooke in 108th (106th in team scoring) at 24:38.3.
Reece Donihi placed 171st with a result of 25:06.0, improving 37 spots as the race unfolded to add 167 points to the team total and Iolo Hughes completed the scoring with 173 points on a time of 25:12.4 that placed him 177th overall.
Not counting towards the team standing was Nehemiah Cionelo (25:37.4) and Max Wharton (25:53.4) as the men finished 27th in the team standings with 627 points.
Earlier in the day, Carisma Lovato was the first Lobo to finish in the women’s “B” race to open the Nuttycombe, completing the course in 21:34.8 for eight team points, 14th overall. Lovato held steady in her placement throughout the race moving into 13th at the 2K mark before settling in at 14th at the 4K, which she would hold until the finish.
Lydia Hallam was the next to finish at 22:14.7, which was good for 52nd overall but 29th when it came to team points, moving from 76th at the 2K mark to 52nd. Grace Williams recorded the third score for the Lobos with a time of 22:33.4 (67th overall, 40th in team scoring) and Johanna Briscoe and Mackenzie Everett finished within 0.6 seconds of each other at 22:43.3 and 22:43.9, respectively, giving UNM 45 and 46 more points towards the team scoring. Rounding out the entries in the race was Steffi Jones, who ran the 6K in 23:20.2. As a team, the Lobos finished seventh in the team standings with 168 points, just four points shy of Utah State and 10 points ahead of Utah.
UNM had just two runners in the men’s “B” race in Kristian Uldbjerg Hansen and Harrison Smith III, with Uldbjerg Hansen leading the Lobos throughout the 8K. Uldbjerg Hansen finished in 25:23.4 for 43rd overall and Smith crossed in 26:03.7 for 81st overall.
At the 2K mark, the senior Uldbjerg Hansen sat in 47th, which he held through the halfway mark before moving up to 40th at the 6K split. Smith started the race in 50th before dropping to 69th at the 4K mark and 75th at the 6K mark.
Up next for UNM is the Mountain West Cross Country Championships to be held on Friday, Nov. 1 in Logan, Utah.