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EUGENE, Ore. – UNCG sophomore runner Paul Katam (Eldoret, Kenya/Sacho) earned First Team All-America honors and finished as the National Championship Runner-Up in the 10,000-meter distance at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track National Championships on the campus of the University of Oregon at historic Hayward Field.
Katam posted a time of 29:41.27, trimming almost nine seconds off his NCAA East Regional championship winning time and finished behind Arizona's Lawi Lalang who won his fifth career title with a time of 29:29.65. He out-touched Craig Lutz of Texas (29:41.97) and Florida State's Michael Fout (29:42.23).
"I can't express how proud I am of Paul right now," head coach Linh Nguyen said. "This is a guy that works harder than anybody you've ever met and he does it with no fanfare and in the shadow of a very good teammate. What people saw tonight is what we in the program already knew and it's that Paul Katam is one of the best distance runners in the nation."
Katam's finish marked his best finish in the national championship race and his second All-America honor in outdoor track after garnering Second Team All-America accolades last season when he finished ninth in the same event. His national runner-up finish marks the second straight year UNCG has accomplished the feat as fellow Kenyan Paul Chelimo finished second in the 5,000-meter race last year.
Katam ran a perfect tactical race as he remained with the pack for the first 18 laps of the 25-lap race. He moved into the top six with seven laps to go and made his move into the top four with four laps left. He took over sole possession of second place with three laps to go and slowly pulled away from the field.
Katam was overtaken on the final lap by the chase group as they made the final turn, but he kicked it over the final stretch to move from fourth all the way to second, pulling away from Craig Lutz of Texas and Michael Fout of Florida State for the second place finish. He posted a time of 64.46 seconds on his final laps and posted nine laps under 70 seconds. His time of 29:41.27 is his second fastest 10,000-meter time of the season and his third fastest mark of his career.
"I spoke to Paul on the phone earlier today and he said he felt good and he felt ready," Nguyen said. "I told him to stay relaxed the first half and don't respond to any crazy moves. He was supposed to really get after it the last 3k and he followed the plan to perfection."
Katam has now won back-to-back NCAA East Regional Championships in the 10,000-meter outdoor track season. He is a two-time All-America in the distance after earning Second Team honors last year in Iowa and First Team accolades this season in Oregon. He entered the race with the top time in the two national qualifiers and had the 16th fastest qualifying time in the country on the season.
UNCG will look to add it second All-America honor of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track Championship Saturday evening as Paul Chelimo will battle for the national title in the 5,000-meter race. The race is set for a 6:23 p.m. (ET) start and will be televised on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN App.
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