Lalang finishes with a perfect season
Runner wins UA’s first men’s cross-country national title since 1994
Arizona freshman cross-country runner Lawi Lalang came in first place at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday, beating runner-up in Stanford’s Chris Derrick by 13 seconds with a time of 28:44.1.
“The race was really competitive, but I took on the challenge,” Lalang said.
Feeling good early on, Lalang broke away from the group at around the 5,000-meter mark and stepped up the pace for the remainder of the 10,000-meter race. He clocked in the 8K at an impressive 22:52.
“After the 4k, I was ready to go. If anybody was going to go with me, I was ready,” Lalang said.
This race brings to conclusion Lalang’s undefeated season as a freshman. He finished with four course records, winning the Pac-12 Championship, NCAA West Regional and now the NCAA title. The NCAA Championship was his second ever 10k race.
Meanwhile, the women’s cross-country team struggled in the cold weather with a 19th place finish, coming into the competition ranked No. 8. Junior Jen Bergman earned All-American honors and led the pack, placing 26th with a time of 20:22. UA’s second runner, sophomore Elvin Kibet clocked in at 20:39 earning 52nd and junior Elizabeth Apgar came in 154th with a time of 21:25.
“I really don’t have much to say other than I am a little disappointed,” Kibet said. “The girls just did not have a good day.”
For team finishes, it came to a battle between the East and the West coasts with No. 4 Georgetown earning their first championship, followed by No. 3 Washington and third place going to No. 2 Villanova. Villanova’s senior, Sheila Reid took the individual title by finishing the 6K race in 19:42.
On the men’s side, the favored No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers took first place followed by No. 2 Oklahoma State and the Pac-12’s No. 6 Colorado Boulder taking third.
Lalang is Arizona’s third man to win the national title. Martin Keino earned the last one in 1994 .