Chelanga, Koll Lead NCAA Regional 10,000m Qualifying

These two may be unstoppable at nationals in two weeks.

By David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

After 90 athletes had competed in four NCAA Regional qualifying 10,000m race last night, Liberty’s Sam Chelanga and Iowa State’s Lisa Koll had posted the best times amongst the 48 qualifiers who will compete for the national title in Eugene, Ore., next month.

Chelanga, a junior from Kenya who holds the NCAA 10,000m record of 27:08.39, won the Eastern Regional qualifying race in at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro in 29:27.20 after a 45 minute delay in starting the event due to high heat and humidity.  Chelanga led the race from gun to tape.  He was followed by Oregon sophomore Ben Cheruiyot in 29:44.76 and Virginia junior Ryan Collins in 29:45.55.

Also in Greensboro, West Virginia senior Clara Grandt led the 12 women’s qualifiers with a 34:29.86 mark, well in front of Florida State junior Pasca Cheruiyot (34:42.83) and Providence senior Katie DiCamillo (34:43.44).

The Western Regional qualifying races were held in at the University of Texas in Austin where Oklahoma State senior John Kosgei was the top men’s finisher in 29:36.55.  Ahmed Osman, a Northern Arizona sophomore, and Jake Riley, a Stanford junior, finished second and third in 29:37.42 and 29:38.64, respectively.

Koll, the Iowa State senior who holds the NCAA record of 31:18.07and who won the NCAA 10-K title in 2008, clocked 34:23.65 to win her qualifying race.  Her teammate Betsy Saina, a sophomore, was close behind in 34:25.85 and UC Santa Barbara senior Danielle Domenichelli got third (34:26.11).

“(They) all did a great job of working together in the race,” Iowa State head coach Corey Ihmels remarked about Koll, Saina and junior Semehar Tesfaye, who finished eighth.  “Today was all about getting through to (the NCAA Championship) and I think all of them really worked well together in the race.”

This is the first year that the NCAA moved away from their four-region qualifying system for the national championships to a two-region preliminary round where the top-12 from each 10,000m race in the two regions would advance to the national championships.  Unlike the four regional championships held last year, these preliminary round meets don’t even have team scores, the traditonal hallmark of NCAA competition.  Qualifying athletes now have a two week rest before the NCAA Division I Championships which open at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field on June 9.

The two, three-day regional qualifying meets continue today and conclude on Saturday.

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