Kemboi wins UVU’s first NCAA track title in 10,000 meters
Courtesy BYU Photo
AUSTIN, Texas — Everlyn Kemboi became Utah Valley University’s first NCAA Division I National Champion with her win in the 10,000-meter final at the NCAA Championships on Thursday night at the University of Texas. Kemboi set a new facility record at Mike A. Myers Stadium, winning the 10k with a time of 32:39.08.
“It’s insane. I don’t even believe I won. I’m just thankful and grateful. I’ve been waiting for this time. I’ve been patient, trusted my training, and trusted my coaches,” Kemboi said.
She was with a group of 14 runners for the first 5,000 meters before that was whittled down to nine and included the defending champion, Alabama’s Mercy Chelangat, and Utah’s Emily Venters, who finished second on Thursday night.
The pack shrunk to five with about 2,000 meters to go, and Kemboi pulled away over the final 800, extending the lead to about 40 meters as the bell rang for the final lap. She ran the last mile in 4:51, winning the race by eight seconds.
“When she made those moves over the last 1,200, I knew she was going to win it. How awesome it was to watch someone from Utah Valley University bring home a National Championship. It proves you can do it anywhere,” UVU head coach Scott Houle said. “She followed the plan, and her progression has been really fun to watch. Every race now she’s expected to be first or second and she’s lived up to those expectations.”
Kemboi is now a three-time All-American and received the honor for the second time in the outdoor 10k. She was also an All-American in cross country last fall and is set to become a four-time All-American with the 5,000-meter final, in which she is also among a group of favorites. That 5k is scheduled to begin at 9:55 p.m. CT on Saturday night and can be seen live on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
After her performance at the West Regionals, Kemboi became the first Wolverine woman to qualify for multiple events at the NCAA Championships.
Kemboi attended Sing’ore Girls High School in Iten, Kenya, participating in track, soccer and volleyball. She redshirted the 2020-21 campaign at the University of Arizona, then attended El Paso CC and ran cross country and half marathon during both her freshman and sophomore seasons. Kemboi was a four-time NJCAA All-American while at El Paso CC and was crowned the 2018 NJCAA Cross Country National Champion after winning the 5K race in a time of 18:17.1. She also finished second at the 2019 NJCAA Cross Country National Championships to earn runner-up honors and turned in second-place finishes at both the 2018 and 2019 NJCAA Hal Marathon National Championships. Kemboi was named the USTFCCCA NJCAA National Women’s Runner of the Year in 2018.