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Paul Chelimo And Paul Katam Qualify For National Championship

Courtesy: UNCGSpartans.com
         
Release: November 08, 2012
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG junior Paul Chelimo (Chebiemit, Kenya/Chebiemit Boys School) and sophomore Paul Katam (Eldoret, Kenya/Sacho) both qualified for the NCAA Championships after posting top-five finishes in the 2012 NCAA Southeast Cross Country Regional at McAlpine Park in Charlotte Friday afternoon. This marks the second straight time the men's program has seen two UNCG runners qualify for the national championship race.

Chelimo finished second overall for the second straight season as he turned in a personal-best and UNCG-record time of 29:36.51 in the 10,000-meter race, finishing just behind Eastern Kentucky's Soufiane Bouchikhi who turned in a time of 29:32.37. Chelimo trimmed almost three seconds from his time last year at the Southeast Regional (29:39.1) when he became the first UNCG men's cross country runner to advance to the NCAA championship.

"Paul Chelimo has been slowed by injury and he ran really tough today through the pain," head coach Linh Nguyen said. "He was trying to win but he was hurting too much in the final push. Placing second two years in a row is a great result though, especially in such a tough region."

Katam earned his first-ever invitation to the NCAA championship race by placing fifth overall with a personal-best time of 29:43.62. The top four individuals not on the top two teams qualify for the national championship. He surpassed his previous career-mark in the 10,000-meter race by 1:13 over his time at the same race last year as a freshman when he posted a 15th place finish (30.29.90).

"Paul Katam ran a strategically perfect race today," Nguyen said. "We wanted him to stay with the pack during all of the breaks and he was able to stay in the lead group all the way to the end when other runners were falling off."
 
Junior Abraham Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kipkabus) was the Spartans' third finisher, placing 73rd overall with a time of 31:49.35. Kemboi also surpassed his previous career-best time, cutting 12 seconds off his time last year at the regional (32:01.4).
 
The Spartans as a team finished 14th out of 34 teams in the high-caliber field as they posted a team score of 397, finishing just four points shy of Southern Conference champion Appalachian State. Virginia won the regional with 64 total points as all five of its counting scores were in the top 20 while Eastern Kentucky placed second with 75 points.
 
"I am very proud of our team for finishing 14th short-handed," Nguyen said. "Our goal was to finish in the top 15 and we accomplished that, even finishing just points away from Appalachian State who just won the SoCon meet. We had a great showing from Tyron (Alston) and Taylor (Day) today."

Junior Tyron Alston (Mebane, N.C./Eastern Alamance) turned in a time of 33:37.87 to finish in 154th place overall, also improving his career-best time by 1:02. Senior Taylor Day (Cornelius, N.C./Hopewell) rounded out the top five with a time of 33:48.76.
 
UNCG Individual Times
2. Paul Chelimo, 29:36.51
5. Paul Katam, 29:43.62
73. Abraham Kemboi, 31:49.35
154. Tyler Alston, 33:37.87
163. Taylor Day, 33:48.76
(185.) Brandon Cain, 34:21.75
(186.) Josh Crawford, 34:22.26
 
NCAA Southeast Regional Team Scores
  1. Virginia, 64
  2. Eastern Kentucky, 75
  3. North Carolina State, 102
  4. Virginia Tech, 150
  5. Duke, 201
  6. George Mason, 202
  7. Liberty, 257
  8. William & Mary, 270
  9. Wake Forest, 288
  10. Louisville, 328
  11. North Carolina, 334
  12. Kentucky, 335
  13. Appalachian State, 393
  14. UNCG, 397
  15. USC Upstate, 415
  16. Clemson, 425
  17. High Point, 431
  18. Furman, 432
  19. Davidson, 444
  20. VMI, 506
  21. Richmond, 507
  22. Western Carolina, 600
  23. Elon, 616
  24. Western Kentucky, 671
  25. Morehead State, 711
  26. Charlotte, 713
  27. Winthrop, 750
  28. UNC Asheville, 797
  29. Coastal Carolina, 812
  30. UNCW, 819
  31. Longwood, 870
  32. College of Charleston, 890
  33. Wofford, 1007
  34. N.C. A&T, 1011

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