NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The New Mexico Lobos’ third-ranked women’s cross-country team couldn’t quite catch top-ranked Colorado Friday at Notre Dame’s invitational meet. But it looks like they unveiled another star in the process.
Ednah Kurgat, in her first race in a Lobo uniform, won in 16 minutes, 1.8 seconds, a record for the women’s 5-kilometer race at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational.
Kurgat, a sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya, handily beat teammate and All-American Alice Wright, runner-up at 16:12. The Lobos had four runners int he top eight, but Coloraod packed more efficiently and scored 47 points to UNM’s 51.
The Lobo men ran 10th of 21 teams at the meet.
Kurgat sat out last fall after transferring from Liberty University, where she earned All-America status in 2015 by finishing 12th at the NCAA championship meet.
“She waited for over a year to race,” UNM coach Joe Franklin said of Kurgat, “so for her to come out and what she did in her first is quite outstanding.”
Freshman Weini Kelati and transfer Charlotte Prouse also scored for the UNM women in their first races for the Lobos, crossing the line in sixth and eighth place, respectively. Kelati clocked a time of 16:23.9, while Prouse crossed the line in 16:33.0. Kieran Casey came in as New Mexico’s final scorer, finishing 34th in 17:04.5.
Senior Alexander Palm spearheaded the men’s efforts over the 5-mile race, finishing seventh in 23:58.8. It’s the Lobos’ best finish in the race since 2013, when Luke Caldwell took second place. But Palm’s time was the faster of the two, and the fastest since Adam Bitchell ran 23:35.8 in 2014.
Josh Kerr, reigning NCAA champion in the indoor mile and the outdoor 1,500, showed his cross-country chops, taking 18th in 24:09.1. After redshirting last fall, Kerr made a strong return to the grass, posting a strong improvement over his 71st-place finish from 2015.
No. 13 Southern Utah won the men’s race with 72 points, upsetting No. 4 Colorado (101 points). Mountain West rival Air Force came in third with 154 points. UNM scored 279.