👟 Lona Latema Runs Personal Best at NCAA Championships
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In just her first career appearance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, Kansas sophomore Lona Latema ran a personal best 20:31.2 to place 101st at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida on Saturday.
Latema’s race bested her previous best time by over 27 seconds (20:58.6), coming in at 20:31.2. Her previous best came on the same course at the Pre-National Invitational on October 15, 2021.
Latema was the sixth Jayhawk from the women’s team to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships and the first since 2018 (Sharon Lokedi).
Competing amongst the best in the country, Latema came out of the starting box and ran a controlled race. Through the first 2,000 meters, Latema clocked in at 6:38.0 in 104th place.
Latema moved up into the pack through the next 2,000 meters, crossing the 4k mark at 13:33.5 in 86th place.
Over the final stretch, Latema finished strong, completing her personal best in 20:31.2, which was good for 101st place.
Latema’s standout sophomore season included her 13th place finish (21:01.17) at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Iowa City, Iowa on November 12, earning All-Region honors. Latema also earned All-Big 12 honors for her finish at the Big 12 Cross Country Championship on October 29, where she finished 10th in 21:30.6.
Prior to the postseason, Latema ran consecutive personal bests at the Gans Creek Classic (5th, 21:17.30) in Columbia, Missouri on October 1, followed by another strong run at the Pre-National Invitational (80th, 20:58.60) in Tallahassee on October 15.