The University of New Mexico men’s cross country team finished third at the Mountain Region Championships on Nov. 10 to qualify for the NCAA Championship. The women’s team finished seventh.
In his first collegiate 10K, Habtom Samuel won the Mountain Region individual championship with a time of 28:57.6. Samuel, along with Evans Kiplagat and Lukas Kiprop, all finished within the top four to receive All-Region honors.
“We’re fearless. We’ve got … seven incredible athletes. They’re all running really well but three will look to be All-Americans,” Darren Gauson said — UNM’s head coach.
The Lobo men were one of 13 at-large teams to qualify for Nationals in the NCAA’s Selection Show on Nov. 11.
The men’s team is making their first NCAA Championship appearance since 2014, when they finished 14th.
Samuel – the Mountain West Men’s Athlete of the Year – beat out Nico Young from Northern Arizona University by two seconds for his third individual win. Young was followed by Kiprop with a time of 29:00.0 and Kiplagat with 29:03.9.
NAU finished first in the Mountain Region Men’s Championship race with 36 points. Brigham Young University took second with a total score of 89. The Lobo men finished with 97 to take third.
Women’s team lead runner, Nicola Jansen, finished second with a time of 19:25.1 in the 6K to qualify herself for the National Championship race.
“Nicola’s in high spirits, high energy, had a great year … to finish second behind Gracelyn (Larkin) is an awesome run,” Gauson said.
The Lobo women finished seventh overall at Regionals. MW rival Colorado State took sixth to beat out UNM by 19 points. The NAU women finished first and BYU finished second.
The Lobos’ men’s team is now ranked No. 13 in the nation, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. NAU sits at the top at No. 1 and BYU is at No. 3 in rankings.
The Lobos’ men’s team and individual qualifier Jansen competed on Nov. 18 at Panorama Farms Cross Country Course located in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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Ryan Grossetete is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org