Ednah Kurgat Leads Lobos To 2017 NCAA XC Title

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.

View: Results From The NCAA Division I Women's XC Championships

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. 

1Ednah KurgatUniversity of New Mexico19:19.501
2Amy-Eloise NealeUniversity of Washington19:27.002
3Charlotte TaylorUniversity of San Francisco19:28.603
4Allie OstranderBoise State University19:31.304
5Weronika PyzikUniversity of San Francisco19:34.105
6Caroline SangUNC Charlotte19:35.600
7Weini KelatiUniversity of New Mexico19:35.806
8Grayson MurphyUniversity of Utah19:36.300
9Allie BuchalskiFurman University19:42.507
10Danielle JonesUniversity of Colorado19:47.008
11Karissa SchweizerUniversity of Missouri19:47.500
12Charlotte ProuseUniversity of New Mexico19:49.009
13Fiona O'KeeffeStanford University19:49.4010
14Alice WrightUniversity of New Mexico19:49.8011
15Isabelle BrauerUniversity of San Francisco19:50.1012

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. 

RankTeamPointsTop ScorersSpread I Average
1University of New Mexico901+6+9+11+63 (79+93)1:17 1-5 Split | 19:50 Avg
2University of San Francisco1053+5+12+33+52 (99+140)1:01 1-5 Split | 19:56 Avg
3University of Colorado1398+26+27+34+44 (120+216)0:38 1-5 Split | 20:10 Avg
4Stanford University16510+20+39+47+49 (117+150)0:39 1-5 Split | 20:14 Avg
5University of Oregon20313+16+25+68+81 (126+132)0:55 1-5 Split | 20:16 Avg
6Boise State University2644+36+57+75+92 (106+154)1:22 1-5 Split | 20:24 Avg
7Furman University2717+31+42+95+96 (198+201)1:14 1-5 Split | 20:27 Avg
8NC State University28024+37+40+61+118 (133+173)0:57 1-5 Split | 20:30 Avg
9University of Michigan29517+21+70+73+114 (125+141)1:02 1-5 Split | 20:30 Avg
10University of Wisconsin31829+38+41+101+109 (142+199)0:49 1-5 Split | 20:35 Avg
11Brigham Young University34251+56+60+87+88 (94+178)0:21 1-5 Split | 20:39 Avg
12Villanova University34646+65+66+72+97 (108+168)0:30 1-5 Split | 20:39 Avg
13University of Arkansas37732+64+69+78+134 (135+214)0:54 1-5 Split | 20:43 Avg
14Utah State University39519+71+83+85+137 (138+175)1:14 1-5 Split | 20:43 Avg
15Michigan State University39545+74+84+89+103 (147+169)0:32 1-5 Split | 20:44 Avg