CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi cross country program will once again have representation at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, when Patrick Kimeli competes on Monday, Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. Kimeli is the fifth individual in the last six years to make the Championships for the Islanders program.
Last Saturday, Kimeli qualified at the NCAA South Central Regionals in Waco, finishing in seventh place with a time of 30:27.8. He started out strong, running with the lead runners at the beginning of the race but fell to middle of the pack, before a late kick returned him back into the top 10.
"It's very good that Patrick is a sophomore so he can experience the Nationals without a lot of expectations the first time and thus have a better feel for it in the future," said head coach Shawn Flanagan. "It will be a race unlike any he has run. In every other race this season he has gone to the front and stayed there as long as he can."
Flanagan said he has prepped Kimeli about a faster pace that the NCAA Championships will have compared to others he's run this season.
"At the Nationals he (Patrick) can do that, but the pace will be faster than he is used to running at that early in the race, so that is a risk," said Flanagan. "Additionally, at the national meet if you go out too fast they keep streaming past you. But if he goes out more conservatively, he has never been in a situation where he could not see the front of the race so it will be a new experience to see if he can run fast when in a pack of runners that is not in the lead pack."
Making the NCAA Championships for Kimeli is a great finish to the 2010 season, which has included coming in first at the Southland Conference Championships. He also was named the conference Athlete of the Year. Coach Flanagan mentioned that he'll try to prepare Kimeli the same way that he approached his first time at Nationals.
"My first time at Nationals I ran without any expectations and had no idea where I was in the race until at about four miles this guy pointed at me and said, 20 and I finished 18th," said Flanagan. "So good things can happen when you just go out and run and do not worry too much about anything."
The meet will be held in Terre Haute, Ind. at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course at Wabash Valley Family Sports Center with the men's 10K set to run at 12:48 p.m. ET/11:48 p.m. CT.
Video of the NCAA Championships is available at http://www.ncaa.com/allaccess/index.html?media=212485