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Lobo Kelati is Mountain West indoor track athlete of the year

University of New Mexico junior Weini Kelati has been recognized by the Mountain West coaches as the MW Indoor Track & Field Women’s Student-Athlete of the Year, as announced by the conference on Monday.

Kelati is the first UNM female to win since Sandy Fortner was named the indoor student-athlete of the year in 2010 and the first Lobo to win since Adam Bitchell won in 2015. Overall, UNM has now won eight student-athlete of the year honors, with two occurring the women’s side.

University of New Mexico athlete Weini Kelati (UNM photo)

The honor comes after an indoor season in which the Lobo distance runner was named the conference female track athlete of the week three times. In addition, Kelati earned the distinction of being selected to The Bowerman Preseason Watch List, Mid-Indoor Watch List and Pre-NCAA Indoor Championships Watch List. Kelati was one of four women that have maintained their position since the preseason watch list.

Kelati started the indoor season at the Boston University Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener back on Dec. 7, setting the school record as well as the MW record in the 5000-meter with a time of 15:14.71. Her time stood as the second-fastest time run this season in the NCAA and historically was the fourth-fastest time recorded.

She won the mile at the UNM Team Open on Feb. 1 in 4:32.66 (altitude converted) and a week later ran the 3000-meter at the prestigious NYRR Millrose Games in 8:54.66 as one of only two collegiate runners in the field. Her 3000-meter time was the third-fastest time posted in the NCAA this season.

In addition, Kelati anchored UNM’s distance medley relay team at the Mountain West Indoor Championship, helping the Lobos win their first DMR championship since 2015 and just the second all-time since joining the Mountain West. The DMR group cruised to over a 30 second victory after running 11:02.10 (altitude converted), and in the process, qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships, the first team to do so since 2018. Furthermore, their time was the fourth-fastest time recorded in the event in school history.

Kelati ultimately qualified for the NCAA indoor championship in all four events and was scheduled to run in the 3000-meter and the 5000-meter.

In her indoor career, Kelati owns the school record in the mile, the 3000-meter and the 5000-meter and has the top-three recorded times in the mile, the top-two times in the 3000-meter in program history and two of the top-three results recorded in UNM history in the 5000-meter.

 

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