What a battle for the 10,000-meter crown!
Erirean American Weini Kelati IS NCAA CHAMPION IN THE 10,000M!
It looked like Weini Kelati of New Mexico was going to literally run away from the field as she took over the lead at the 4400-meter mark and led the pack for the vast majority of the race. Kelati opened it up to a 20-meter lead as it looked like the standout might be able to coast to a victory with five laps to go.
Carmela Cardama Baez of Oregon had other plans as she ran an insane final lap of 1:08.72 to put herself right back into the race. She chased down Kelati over the final curve and was stride-for-stride with the eventual national champion on the back stretch. It look like Baez had enough momentum to pass the Lady Lobo by but Kelati dug deep and not only retook the lead, but put a stride of distance between the two for the first event title in New Mexico program history.
— NCAA Track & Field (@NCAATrackField) 7. juni 2019
To put into perspective the crazy finish, Baez trailed Kelati by just under five seconds with one lap to go and closed the gap to make it less than a second finish.
Kelati ended up winning the race with her time of 33:10.84 which was good for a facility record. It was the first national title for the New Mexico women’s program since Courtney Frerichs captured the top prize in the steeple during the 2016 championships.