By Jennifer Zahn l FloTrack
Led by a relentless Ednah Kurgat, the New Mexico Lobos placed four runners in the top 15 to secure the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championship title on Saturday with 90 points amid windy conditions in Louisville, Kentucky.
The San Francisco women's historic year ended with their best NCAA finish ever in second place, compiling 105 points while Colorado followed in third with 139.
Kurgat, who remained unchallenged after she calmly peeled away from the lead pack right around the 4K mark, finished first in 19:19.42 to culminate an undefeated season. Her freshman teammate, Weini Kelati, also closed out her first-ever NCAA Championship with style by finishing 7th (19:35.77) -- ahead of reigning champion from the University of Missouri, Karissa Schweizer, who finished in 11th, and other top contenders such as Utah's Grayson Murphy (8th), Furman's Allie Buchalski (9th) and Colorado's Dani Jones (10th).
Charlotte Prouse, New Mexico's third scorer, followed Schweizer in 12th, while Alice Wright was just a second behind in 14th. After a season full of speculation on whom would step up at the NCAA Championships, it was New Mexico's fifth runner, freshman Alondra Negron, who provided an answer as she crossed the line in 85th.
San Francisco's top five, led by a daring effort from low stick Charlotte Taylor, finished 3-5-12-33-52. The Dons' second finisher, junior Weronika Pyzik -- who won Roy Griak -- ran a gusty race to take fifth and sophomore Isabelle Brauer grabbed 15th behind New Mexico's Wright.
|1||Ednah Kurgat||University of New Mexico||19:19.50||1|
|2||Amy-Eloise Neale||University of Washington||19:27.00||2|
|3||Charlotte Taylor||University of San Francisco||19:28.60||3|
|4||Allie Ostrander||Boise State University||19:31.30||4|
|5||Weronika Pyzik||University of San Francisco||19:34.10||5|
|6||Caroline Sang||UNC Charlotte||19:35.60||0|
|7||Weini Kelati||University of New Mexico||19:35.80||6|
|8||Grayson Murphy||University of Utah||19:36.30||0|
|9||Allie Buchalski||Furman University||19:42.50||7|
|10||Danielle Jones||University of Colorado||19:47.00||8|
|11||Karissa Schweizer||University of Missouri||19:47.50||0|
|12||Charlotte Prouse||University of New Mexico||19:49.00||9|
|13||Fiona O'Keeffe||Stanford University||19:49.40||10|
|14||Alice Wright||University of New Mexico||19:49.80||11|
|15||Isabelle Brauer||University of San Francisco||19:50.10||12|
Breaking away almost immediately from the pack, the favorites -- Taylor, Kurgat, Schweizer, Jones, Boise State's Allie Ostrander and Oregon's Katie Rainsberger -- kept pace with early front-running tactics by Charlotte's Caroline Sang to cross the 2K mark in 6:22.
Although Taylor did her best to respond to Kurgat's move at 4K, she couldn't stay stride-for-stride and began to buckle down for second.
In a mad dash to the finish line, Washington's Amy-Eloise Neale shocked a lot of the favorites by taking individual runner-up honors.
Much later in the race, with about 800 meters to go, Neale made her move and outkicked Taylor as she closed on the homestretch. Ostrander concluded her post-injury comeback season with a return to form in fourth place, behind Taylor, who won the West Regional ahead of the Boise State sophomore.
|Rank||Team||Points||Top Scorers||Spread I Average|
|1||University of New Mexico||90||1+6+9+11+63 (79+93)||1:17 1-5 Split | 19:50 Avg|
|2||University of San Francisco||105||3+5+12+33+52 (99+140)||1:01 1-5 Split | 19:56 Avg|
|3||University of Colorado||139||8+26+27+34+44 (120+216)||0:38 1-5 Split | 20:10 Avg|
|4||Stanford University||165||10+20+39+47+49 (117+150)||0:39 1-5 Split | 20:14 Avg|
|5||University of Oregon||203||13+16+25+68+81 (126+132)||0:55 1-5 Split | 20:16 Avg|
|6||Boise State University||264||4+36+57+75+92 (106+154)||1:22 1-5 Split | 20:24 Avg|
|7||Furman University||271||7+31+42+95+96 (198+201)||1:14 1-5 Split | 20:27 Avg|
|8||NC State University||280||24+37+40+61+118 (133+173)||0:57 1-5 Split | 20:30 Avg|
|9||University of Michigan||295||17+21+70+73+114 (125+141)||1:02 1-5 Split | 20:30 Avg|
|10||University of Wisconsin||318||29+38+41+101+109 (142+199)||0:49 1-5 Split | 20:35 Avg|
|11||Brigham Young University||342||51+56+60+87+88 (94+178)||0:21 1-5 Split | 20:39 Avg|
|12||Villanova University||346||46+65+66+72+97 (108+168)||0:30 1-5 Split | 20:39 Avg|
|13||University of Arkansas||377||32+64+69+78+134 (135+214)||0:54 1-5 Split | 20:43 Avg|
|14||Utah State University||395||19+71+83+85+137 (138+175)||1:14 1-5 Split | 20:43 Avg|
|15||Michigan State University||395||45+74+84+89+103 (147+169)||0:32 1-5 Split | 20:44 Avg|