Chelangat takes home 10,000-meter NCAA Championship


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama’s Mercy Chelangat poses with her trophy after taking home the NCAA Championship in the 10,000-meter race at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Abby McCreary, Contributing Writer

For the first time ever, an Alabama runner has taken home the NCAA Championship for the 10,000-meter race.

Junior Mercy Chelangat finished with a time of 32 minutes, 37.08 seconds — nearly 11 seconds ahead of the second-place runner — on Thursday night at the 2022 NCAA Championships at the University of Oregon campus.  

“The 10k is a really long race, so you have to be patient,” Chelangat said. “I know my strengths and I knew I could survive the pace until the end.”

The win earned 10 points for the Crimson Tide, which is currently in sixth place as the week-long championship events continue into the weekend.  

For Chelangat, this championship adds to her growing list of accomplishments with The University of Alabama. Since transferring from the University of Texas Rio Grande, the long-distance star has set four track and field school records, including a 2021 10,000-meter time of 32:13.13 — more than 20 seconds faster than her Thursday night accomplishment.  

“She [Chelangat] is extremely talented and works super hard, and when you combine those two things, you get nights like this,” Alabama head coach Dan Waters said. “We are super proud of everything she’s accomplished, and we can’t wait for what’s next. What an extraordinary race for Mercy.”

While the Crimson Tide will compete in several more events throughout the weekend, Chelangat has one remaining race on Saturday afternoon. Her bid for the 5,000-meter championship begins at 6:25 p.m. CT.