Lokedi Runs into History Books, Claims Sixth in 10K at NCAA Championships

NCAA Track & Field Championships
Hayward Field // Eugene, Oregon

Sharon Lokedi navigated through a tight lead pack through the majority of the 10,000 meter final Thursday evening
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EUGENE, Ore. – A career best, school record and All-America honors were just a few of the many historic accolades Kansas sophomore Sharon Lokedi attained by way of her sixth-place finish in the 10,000 meters Thursday evening at the NCAA Outdoor Championships inside Hayward Field. Lokedi posted a school-record time of 32:49.43 and became the first Jayhawk – male or female – in Kansas track & field history to earn All-America status in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same academic year.
“I’m so happy and so grateful,” said Lokedi following the race. “I ended my season exactly the way I wanted and I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who helped me and motivated me this year. I thought I ran a good race today so it gives me motivation for the next two years to know I’m close to getting that national title.”
Lokedi made an emphatic final statement in one of the most successful seasons by a member of the Kansas track & field program Thursday on a cool and rainy evening inside historic Hayward Field. Competing against a collection of the NCAA’s top distance runners, the Eldoret, Kenya native again proved she belonged. She entered the day with the nation’s eighth-fastest 10K time of the season, after she posted a then-school record of 33:10.05 at the Stanford Invitational on April 1. By the time her race was over, both that ranking and her career-best time would be rewritten.
The starting gun went off with the 24-woman field getting out to a slow but steady pace through the first 1,200 meters. Lokedi quickly found herself near the back of the pack, falling as low as 16th after the first three laps of the race. Her positioning near the back of the pack wouldn’t last long however, as over the next two miles, Lokedi steadily moved her way up the field and, by the time the field reached 4,000 meters in, she had climbed all the way to seventh place and less than a second behind the leaders.
She maintained her positioning on the back shoulders of the front-runners for the next 2.5 miles, moving up to as high as fourth-place with just over 2,000 meters to go. Lokedi, along with a group of six others, entered the final two laps all within a one second gap before eventual champion, Arkansas senior Dominique Scott, ran away from the field.
Lokedi didn’t waiver and ran her final 800 meters in 2:29.79, her fastest half-mile split of the race, and ran through the finish with a final time of 32:49.43, which earned her a sixth-place finish.
Lokedi’s performance bettered her previous career-best and school record by over 20 seconds and made her the first KU female to attain All-America honors in the 10,000 meters. The race also proved to be one of the fastest in NCAA Championship history as Lokedi’s time was the fastest ever posted by a sixth-place finisher. It also would have been good enough to win the event at three of the last five NCAA meets.
The race was Lokedi’s final outing of her sophomore campaign and marked the end of one of the best collegiate seasons by an individual in Kansas track & field history. In the 2015-16 academic year, she attained All-America status in cross country, indoor track & field (5,000m) and outdoor track & field (10,000m). That feat made Lokedi the first Jayhawk – male or female – to be named an All-American in all three seasons in a single academic year.
The final day of men’s events awaits on Friday of the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Kansas will have a pair of discus throwers in action as junior Mitch Cooper and sophomore Nicolai Ceban are slated to compete inside the Hayward Field discus cage in the event that is set to begin at 7:05 p.m. (CT). Follow for updates on Twitter at @KUTrack and get post-event recap and results at KUAthletics.com.
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