University of New Mexico frosh Weini Kelati is at it again, this time in the NCAA ranks. The 2015 Foot Locker National Champion hailing from Heritage (Leesburg) is not new to the spotlight or big freshman years as this almost repeats her meteoric rise from 2014.
Back in 2014 the Eritrean transplant made that rise starting with her first race. In that race at Oatlands, she ran the course's second fastest time ever (18:12) after stopping to tie her shoes twice. From there she remained undefeated until regionals where Libby Davidson up-ended that undefeated bid.
In 2015 though Weini was back in shape and ready to rumble. She tallied up eight victories in as many races. Kelati also recorded five meet records, a state title, and a national title in just those eight races. She also went on to record VA's second fastest XC 5K ever (16:29), a national indoor record in the 5K (16:08), and a state record 9:53 3200.
Despite only being a junior in school, having skipped her sophomore year, due to her age she was forced to make the difficult choice between remaining in high school or going to junior college. She chose college and signed her NLI to New Mexico.
After just training mileage for a year and making it over 400 days without racing, she clearly hadn't lost a single bit of her killer talent. At the LOBO XC Invitational she opened up her college racing career by breaking the course record unattached in 16:59.8.
That time puts her on the same pace to finish around 4th at the NCAA Championships this fall and gives her UNM teammates high hopes of a high team finish as well. Though a lot still has to be decided, it is great to see a Team VA alum doing big things in the NCAA ranks.