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Lobos Take Third at NCAAs, Four Earn All-America

by Alma Solis/Frank Mercogliano

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The University of New Mexico women’s cross country team earned a third place finish in the NCAA Championships on Saturday morning at the Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Fla. As the only runner representing the men’s team, Abdirizak Ibrahim of the men’s team finished his 10K race in 33th place individually.

With the third place finish, the Lobos have extended their top-10 team finish streak to 12 straight seasons. That is the longest current top-10 streak in the country in cross country. After earning 35th place in last season’s championships and finishing in 33rd place this year, Ibrahim has earned two consecutive All-American honors. The last Lobo men’s runner to earn two consecutive All-American honors was Luke Caldwell in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

The championships began with the 6K women’s race at 10:20 (ET), in which three Lobos finished in the top-40 to earn All-American status. The women took third place as a team with 130 points total. NC State took the championship with 84 points, while BYU followed in second place with 122 points.   The Lobos were sitting just 18th after the first 1,000 meters, but the squad kept a solid pace while teams started to fall back.  UNM moved up to 10th at the 2,000-meter mark, fifth at 3,000 and then into third right after that.  The squad never could close the gap with the N.C. State Wolfpack, which won its first national title in women’s cross country.  UNM finished just eight points behind second-place BYU.

UNM cleared fourth place Colorado by 57 points.

Freshman Emma Heckel was the first Lobo to cross the finish line as she placed 18th with a time of 19:45 to her first All-American honors in her career. Just a couple seconds later, Gracelyn Larkin finished in 21st place with a time of 19:47.9. Larkin jumped up 10 spots in the last 1000 meters and earned her second consecutive All-American award. Stefanie Parsons earned 36th place with a time of 19:54.6 and was awarded her first All-American honor at the Division I level. Adva Cohen was the next Lobo across the line as she placed 41st with a time of 19:58. The last counted Lobo across the finish line was Abbe Goldstein, finishing in 47th place and running the 6K in 20:02.7. Amelia Mazza-Downie and Ali Upshaw rounded out the Lobo runners as they earned 56 th place with a time of 20:11.3 and 113th place with a time of 20:44.8, respectively.

Ibrahim was the lone qualifier on the men’s side but earned the right to represent the Lobos. In the 2000 meters, he jumped up 27 spots from 60th to 33rd to secure himself an All-American honor. Finishing in 33rd with a time of 29:28.2 gave Ibrahim his second consecutive All-American spot. He finished last season in 35th place with a time of 30:41.9, consistently getting better each time.

Closing out the cross country season, the Lobos will rest and some will prepare to help the track and field team in the winter and spring seasons.

To keep up with all things Lobo cross country and track & field, follow @UNMLoboXCTF on Twitter and Instagram.

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