Katam Wins Second Straight NCAA East Regional Title In 10,000m
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Running in front of a strong UNCG fan contingent, sophomore Paul Katam (Eldoret, Kenya/Sacho) won his second consecutive outdoor track and field NCAA East Preliminary Round title in the 10,000-meter distance as he pulled away from the field on the final lap Thursday night on a rain-soaked Belk Track at Aggie Stadium on the campus of N.C. A&T.
Katam advances to the NCAA Championships for the second straight season, which will be held June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore., He also now owns two of the Spartans' three Regional titles in program history, with fellow Kenyan Paul Chelimo holding the other championship in the 5,000-meter last year.
Katam won the 10,000-meter race with a time of 29:50.22 as he was able to kick in another gear on the final lap, posting a 59-second last lap to win the race by four seconds over the pre-race top qualifier Michael Fout of Florida State (29:54.22). He finished almost seven seconds faster than the third place finisher, Andrew Springer of Georgetown. The top 12 times from Thursday night's race advanced to the NCAA Championships.
Katam, who entered the race with the 13th-fastest qualifying time in the region, won last year's NCAA East Regional with a time of 30:05.74 in the hot weather in Jacksonville, Fla. His title last year was the program's first-ever regional crown and he earned Second Team All-America honors in the distance, finishing ninth overall at the 2012 National Championships with a UNCG program-record time of 29:10.65.
Junior Paul Chelimo (Chebiemit, Kenya/Chebiemit Boys School) will look to secure the Spartans' second bid to the NCAA National Championships this season as he runs the 5,000-meter race Saturday night at 8:45 p.m. Chelimo is also the reigning NCAA East Regional champion and finished last year as the national runner-up in the national championship race to earn All-America accolades.
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