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UNM’s Kurgat, Kelati shine in 10,000

CLOVIS, Calif. — The University of New Mexico track & field team opened up competition at the 2018 Mountain West Outdoor Track & Field Championships with strong performances in the 10,000-meter run and combined events on Thursday.

Ednah Kurgat and Weini Kelati led the way with a pair of dominant races in the women’s 10,000, while the Lobos’ multi-event athletes tallied a trio of scoring efforts in both the decathlon and heptathlon on day two of the four-day meet

Daniel Lam and Beau Clafton placed second and seventh, respectively, in the decathlon, while Kyra Mohns captured a third-place finish in the heptathlon at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis, California.

Kurgat and Kelati swept the top-two finishes via two masterful performances.

Kurgat eventually pulled away from her teammate and cruised to the title in 32 minutes, 31.55 seconds.

Kurgat’s mark broke the championship record of 33:18.25 set by teammate Alice Wright in 2015, and ranks second all-time in program history behind Wright (32:15.73).

Kelati wasn’t far behind as the freshman scooted into second place with a time of 32:41.92.

Through Thursday’s action, the Lobos lead the women’s standings with a score of 24 points, while the Colorado State men lead the men’s standings with 36 points.

Day three of the championships start today at 4 p.m. MT.

… Eastern New Mexico sophomore Marcus Parker on Thursday was named the Lone Star Conference’s top male athlete, based on his performance at the league’s championship meet.

Parker scored 21¼ points after winning the 100 meters (10.25 seconds), the 200 (20.87) and pacing the Greyhounds’ 4×100 relay team to a fourth-place finish.

SOFTBALL: In Las Cruces, Western Athletic Conference player of the year Kelsey Horton slammed two of her team’s four home runs as host and top seed New Mexico State (27-22) powered its way to a 10-2 run-rule victory over Grand Canyon (28-27) Thursday.

The Aggies, who drew a bye Wednesday in the six-team double-elimination event, return to action today at 1 p.m. at the NM State Softball Complex against No. 6 seed UM Kansas City, which beat No. 2 Utah Valley 7-5 on Wednesday. The championship round is Saturday; the winner earns an automatic NCAA Tournament berth.

Horton has 24 home runs, tying the New Mexico State single-season record. She followed Kennedy Johnson’s solo shot with a three-run homer in NMSU’s four-run second inning for a 4-1 lead.

BASEBALL: Limping to the finish of the season, New Mexico (16-31-1, 9-18 Mountain West) is reduced to playing the role of spoiler this weekend at Air Force in the Lobos’ final conference series of the season.

Last in the seven-team league, the Lobos are out of contention for the four-team postseason league tournament. Air Force (23-24, 11-12) is tied for third.

It’s the final league series of the season for New Mexico, which concludes with a May 18-20 home series against UC Davis.

Right-hander Justin Slaten (2-8, 6.86) starts today at 3 p.m. for the Lobos. Saturday and Sunday games are at 1 p.m. All are airing on 101.7 FM.