The Spartans, with two runners in the NCAA Outdoor National Championships, finished 15th overall in the nation.
As News & Record writer Eddie Wooten commented after Saturday’s race, UNCG did better at the Championships than any other school in our state. The only ACC team ahead of UNCG was Florida State, he added.
Paul Katam ran first, in Thursday’s 10,000 meter race. The sophomore pre-nursing major placed second. On the last lap, he was overtaken by several runners and was in fourth place, but regained the second spot.
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.”
Last year at the Outdoor Championships, Katam won second-team All-America honors, one spot away from first team. This year, he secured first team honors.
UNCG junior runner Paul Chelimo in the Saturday 5,000 race earned First Team All-America honors and finished as the National Runner-Up for the second straight season.
After Chelimo’s race, Nguyen said. “He’s had a tough year with injuries and less than ideal training, but he goes out and finishes second in the nation.”
Chelimo, a Public Health major, is now a five-time All-America recipient during his career as a Spartan. He has won two First Team All-America honors in outdoor track, one First Team All-America honor in indoor track and two First Team All-America accolades in cross country as a Spartan.
“A lot of people nationally doubted him this year, and he just proved them all wrong,” Nguyen said after Chelimo’s race. “The best thing is that both he and Katam will be back next year!”
Visual: Paul Katam during Nationals race. Photographer: Eric Evans