NCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field Championships 2013

Lawi Lalang Completes the Double and Leaves Debris Behind in the 5k

Lawi Lalang Completes the Double and Leaves Debris Behind in the 5k

Jun 9, 2013 by Mitch Kastoff
Lawi Lalang Completes the Double and Leaves Debris Behind in the 5k
Let’s all bow our heads and honor the dead in the men’s 5k because Arizona’s Lawi Lalang simply destroyed everyone.

Following his destruction, the Arizona Wildcat became the twelfth NCAA athlete in history to complete the 5k and 10k double. While we knew that the 10,000m was a lock, some may have thought that he was going to have his hands full in the 5000m.

Other than maybe the women’s steeplechase, no other race was less of a contest than the men’s 5000m. From the start, there was no doubt that Lawi Lalang would be your double champion.

Full Splits

Rather than leave any creeping suspicion that someone else could win, Lalang took his destiny into his own hand’s and controlled the race from the start. Before the mile, we were having conversations in the stands about everyone else in the race who could maybe take the surprise win. After the mile, we were only talking about Lalang.

This race seemed like an replica of the men’s NCAA Indoor 5k, but instead of Texas Tech’s Kennedy Kithuka, the leader out front was Lalang. One has to wonder how the race would have played out if the reigning NCAA XC champion run the 5k this afternoon.

Back in Fayetteville, AR, there was one person to give chase to the eventual leader. In Eugene, OR, the same person tried to once again make a bid to catch the leader.

NAU's Diego Estrada tried to bridge the gap between himself (second) and Lalang, but this time he wouldn't be the only one who would take a leap of fath. The duo of Arkansas’ Kemoy Campbell and UNC-Greensboro’s Paul Chelimo closely followed Estrada as the group tried to catch the already gone Lalang.

While we've talked about Campbell earlier this season after he ran 13:32 at Stanford, but we haven’t said much about Chelimo. After his teammate Paul Katam took second in the 10k, we caught up with Chelimo and told that we didn’t forget about his runner-up finish from last year.

One year later, he’s right back in that spot. Chelimo kicked past Estrada on the Bowerman Curve to once again grab the silver in the 5000m. Campbell would fade to for fifth.

With such a substantial lead, we were able to spend less time watching Lalang and more time watching the under-the-radar developments.

He may not think he has any speed, but Captain America Maverick Darling moved up really well throughout the race to take fifth. If anyone was keeping score, Darling is now the top American finisher from cross country and the outdoor 5k. I can hear the patriotic “USA, USA” chants now. Darling would make a move from the second chase pack, to the main chase pack, and then passed Campbell on the final lap to take fourth.

The next finisher was also an American and oddly enough, another Badger. Though he’s been hurt for quite some time, Wisconsin’s Reed Connor also had a solid performance. Even though he ran 61.46 for the last lap to finish 6th, Connor had enough energy to shoot a smiling glance to the homestretch crowd (to coach, perhaps?).

Towards the last few laps, we finally caught a glimpse of Connor as he passed a fading Eric Jenkins. The Northeastern distance star who had run 13:18 earlier this season, had a very off day and was disappointed to miss out on an all-American spot.

Before this race, we believed Lalang, but we didn't totally believe Lalang. More than once this season, the now double NCAA champion told us that he didn't fear anyone this season. Based on his confident and dominant front running, we'll say that he was telling the truth.