Getting to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships is quite an accomplishment, although winning a title means so much more.
For the women’s distance relay team from University of New Mexico, this year’s nationals at College Station, Texas may have been a disappointment – the Lobos finished 10th with a time of 11:13.21 – but for freshman Shalom Keller, it was a successful weekend.
“It was an amazing experience to be able to compete with all those athletes,” Keller said after returning to Albuquerque.
Keller – a Ruidoso High School graduate – ran a 400-meter leg time of 55.59 seconds. While the Lobos didn’t get a medal, they’re still the 10th fastest women’s distance relay team in the entire country.
It was also the fastest time by UNM at an NCAA championship.
The lineup was a bit different from the one that won the Mountain West Conference title and earned a spot at nationals, as Kieran Casey took the place of Ednah Kurgat, who ran second in the 5000-meter run.
“We’re so proud of her and all her accomplishments,” said Ruidoso athletic director Kief Johnson. “She’s blessed with talent and works so hard to use those talents. She doesn’t take it for granted.”