New Mexico standout and former Heritage-Leesburg runner Weini Kelati won her first NCAA XC title this morning. She clocked a quick 19:47.5 in the rain at Terre Haute (In.). This was an improvement from her second place finish a year ago.
This title is her second NCAA title overall but her first at the 5K distance. She was the 2019 NCAA D1 outdoor 10k champion.
Her team finished 4th overall with the Arkansas women winning the team title.
Weini knew the race she needed to run was just like the 10K outdoors, she needed to lead the entire way and try and gap the field. That strategy led her to victory today.
Kelati opened in the lead and at the 2K was at 6:37. She followed that up with a 13:14 split at the 2K with her second 2K being exactly the same. Finally she brought it home with a 6:33 split the final 2K.
The course conditions were not horrible but also not ideal for fast times either. There were multiple spots in the course with significant mud and slipperiness which definitely affect times today.
Some other former VA finishers were: Lindsey Blanks (61st-21:01), Rachel McArthur (85th-21:10), Sara Freix (91st-21:12), Madeline King (153rd-21:38), and Natalie Morris (206th-22:07).