Open Announce

Samuel Finishes as First Team All-American in NCAA 5K Final

by Connor Gilbert

EUGENE, Ore. – New Mexico’s Habtom Samuel put the finishing touches on one of the most dominant first years in program history with a sixth-place finish in the Men’s 5,000m Finals for his fifth First Team All-American honors of the year on Friday while bumping the Lobos into a tie for No. 23 in the final men’s team score when the dust settled.

One of just four athletes to compete in both the 10,000m and 5,000m Finals along with Alex Maier (OSU), Cael Groteinhius (NAU) and Chandler Gibbens (Kansas), Samuel led early and worked his way back to the front after falling as far back as 10th in a slow, strategic race but couldn’t hold on down the final stretch as things heated up and fatigue took its toll.

UNC’s Parker Wolfe (13:54.43) ran a blistering 54.86-second final lap to outkick Northern Arizona’s Nico Young (13:54.65) and secure the individual win, with Samuel (13:58.83) a little over four seconds behind in sixth while beating the other three runners who also competed in Wednesday’s 10K in the process. He still has yet to finish below seventh in an NCAA Championship race, wrapping up his first year against collegiate competition with five First Team All-American trophies and five Mountain West individual titles while setting four new program and conference records across indoor and outdoor season.

After winning Wednesday’s 10K final for his first NCAA title, Samuel is the first man to earn First Team All-American status in two different events at both Indoor and Outdoor National Championships — he’s the first man to finish as an All-American in two outdoor events in the same year since Mike Solomon in 1977 (440y, 600y).

Weini Kelati is the only other athlete – male or female – in UNM history to finish as a First Team All-American in both events at the same Outdoor Championships – she won the 10,000m and finished fifth in the 5,000m in 2019.

UNM’s lone competitor this week, Samuel scored 13 points in total for the Lobos with his first- and sixth-place finishes – the most points the UNM men have scored as a team at NCAA Outdoor Championships since 1967 (24) – to help the Lobos finish tied for 23rd in the men’s team score with Northern Arizona. It’s only the fifth time UNM has produced 13 or more points in the men’s team score in program history and the highest the Lobo men have finished in the team score since 2017.

UNM concludes the week as the second-highest placing non-P5 team in the men’s field behind Harvard (T-16th), outscoring 113 of 137 teams competing. Florida scored 41 points to narrowly edge second-place Auburn (40 pts) to its third-straight men’s team NCAA Outdoor Championship.

The conclusion of Friday’s race marks the end of the collegiate season for New Mexico Track & Field, but one more Lobo will be competing this weekend – Pamela Kosgei will compete for the Olympic standard in the 3K Steeplechase at the non-NCAA Portland Track Festival on Saturday at Mt. Hood Community College.

A free live stream for Saturday’s competition will be available via – Follow @UNMLoboXCTF on Instagram and X for live coverage, meet day content and more.

Samuel will make his Olympic debut representing Eritrea in Paris this summer for his next competition — the 2024 Olympics will run from July 26 to Aug. 11, with the men’s 10,000m Final set for Aug. 2.

Since the start of the 2023-24 season, Samuel has racked up accomplishments at a pace unseen by any true freshman in UNM history. This week, he added his first NCAA title and another All-American finish today to a lengthy resume:

  • 2023 Mountain West Athlete of the Year (XC)
  • NCAA Runner of the Week (XC)
  • USTFCCCA Mountain Region Athlete of the Year (XC)
  • Mountain West Champion (XC)
  • NCAA Mountain Region Champion (XC)
  • NCAA Championship Runner-Up (XC)
  • Mountain West Championship Record Holder (XC)
  • UNM Program Record Holder – 5,000m, 3,000m, Mile (Indoor)
  • Fastest collegiate mile ever ran at the Albuquerque Convention Center (3:59.12)
  • 11th-Fastest 5,000m time in NCAA History (Indoor)
  • Mountain West Championship Performer of the Meet (Indoor)
  • Mountain West Championship Record Holder – 5,000m, 3,000m (Indoor)
  • Mountain West Champion – 5,000m, 3,000m (Indoor)
  • USTFCCCA First Team All-American – 5,000m, 3,000m (Indoor)
  • No. 2 10,000m time in NCAA History (Outdoor)
  • 2024 Mountain West Indoor Track Athlete of the Year
  • Mountain West Champion — 1500m, 5,000m (Outdoor)
  • NCAA Champion -10,000m (Outdoor)
  • USTFCCCA First Team All-American — 5,000m, 10,000m (Outdoor)