LUBBOCK, Texas – New Mexico’s Habtom Samuel won the NCAA Mountain Region individual championship and Evans Kiplagat and Lukas Kiprop finished third and fourth to lead a third-place finish for the Lobo men that puts them in contention for their first NCAA Championship appearance since 2014, with Nicola Jansen qualifying as an individual with a runner-up finish to lead the women to seventh in the team score.
Two weeks after being named MW Athlete of the Year following an individual win at conference championships, Samuel crossed the finish line in 28:57.6 in his first collegiate 10K, beating out top NAU runner Nico Young for his third individual win this season. Northern Arizona took the team title with 36 points, with the Lobos in third just eight points shy of second-place BYU (89 points).
Behind Samuel, Lukas Kiprop (29:00.0) and Evans Kiplagat (29:03.9) both packed into the Top Four to pick up All-Region honors and secure individual qualification for NCAA National Championships in Charlottesville, Va. next week.
Samuel is the first UNM men’s Mountain Region individual champ since 2004, with the three All-Region finishers being the most for the men since 2008. The Lobos’ third-place finish is their best since 2013.
Jansen finished as runner-up with a massive 29-second PR (19:25.1) to lead a seventh-place team finish for the Lobo women in a highly-competitive race, securing herself an individual spot at the National Championship race next week along with the men’s trio.