NCAA Women’s Steeple — CR To NCAA Novice Lemngole

Doris Lemngole outkicked defending champ Olivia Markezich, whom she also bested by a place in the NCAA XC. (MIKE SCOTT)

DORIS LEMNGOLE may be a frosh at Alabama, but she runs smart like the 22-year-old she is. The slight Kenyan, who finished 2nd at the NCAA Cross Country last fall, had a plan and she executed it perfectly.

“My goal was to stay with the leaders and run under 9:20,” she said after the race.

Defending champ Olivia Markezich and Notre Dame teammate Sophie Novak, the ACC winner, stepped to the lead on the first lap with Lemngole, Greta Karinauskaitė of Cal Baptist, Florida’s Elise Thorner and Iowa State’s Janette Schraft in pursuit.

The pace was at a comfortable range of 74 to 76 seconds a lap as Markezich and Lemngole continued in the lead. The chase pack battled each other for position.

With 2 laps to go Lemngole, staying right Markezich’s hip, waited until midway down the backstretch and moved past the defending champ with about 600 remaining. Karinauskaitė was still in 3rd but her deficit to the leaders was increasing.

Markezich, a strong runner and good technician over the water jump, stayed in Lemngole’s shadow. The pace sped up to 70 seconds. Lemngole kept pressing and as she approached the final water jump, she drifted toward lane 3 in order to have ample cushion. She hit the liquid perfectly and was clearly in the lead, running away from Markezich.

Lemngole’s final lap of 68.44 gave her a 9:15.24 to beat Markezich’s 9:17.36 and lift the Collegiate Record set by Courtney Wayment of BYU at 9:16.00 to win the ‘22 championship.

“I didn’t expect that,” said the winner. “My goal was to run under 9:20. I am so happy to break the Collegiate Record. When I was finishing up I saw the 9:15, I was so happy.”

Markezich’s PR 9:17.36 was good for No. 3 all-time among collegians. Iowa State’s Schraft, the Big 12 champ who improved from 17th last year to 3rd this year, had a blistering finish in 9:34.82. Karinauskaitė barely held off Arkansas’s Portuguese steepler Laura Taborda, 9:35.56–9:35.67 for 4th.

Finishing 8th at 9:42.22, Northern Arizona frosh Karrie Baloga, the ’22 Champs Sports (AKA Foot Locker) harrier champ, cut the American Junior Record by 4.26.

Though Lemngole has some experience, she is a novice compared with Markezich. The Notre Dame senior has had quite a run at the NCAA — 13th as a frosh, 3rd as a soph, 1st last year and now 2nd.


(June 08)

1. ***Doris Lemngole’ (Al-Ken) 9:15.24 CR (old CR 9:16.00 Courtney Wayment [BYU] ’22)

(68.44, 2:16.43, 3:29.12, 4:45.22);

2. Olivia Markezich (NDm) 9:17.36 PR (3, 3 C)

(70.23, 2:18.27, 3:31.07, 4:47.50);

3. Janette Schraft (IaSt) 9:34.82 PR;

4. Greta Karinauskaitė’ (CalB-Lit) 9:35.56;

5. Laura Taborda’ (Ar-Por) 9:35.67 PR;

6. Elise Thorner’ (Fl-GB) 9:37.30;

7. *Sophie Novak (NDm) 9:40.54 PR;

8. ***Karrie Baloga (NnAz) 9:42.22 AJR (old AJR 9:46.48 Madie Boreman [Co] ’17);

9. **Taylor Lovell (BYU) 9:48.39 PR;

10. Calli Doan (Lib) 9:49.54 PR;

11. Emma Tavella (BC) 9:55.89;

12. ***Zoie Dundon (Mn) 10:00.55.

SEMIS (June 06)

I–1. Lemngole’ 9:38.69; 2. Taborda’ 9:48.48 PR;

3. Baloga 9:49.33 PR (3, 3 AJ);

4. Thorner’ 9:49.40; 5. Schraft 9:51.70; 6. Doan 9:53.59; 7. Kayla Schiera (WnMi) 10:03.31; 8. *Hannah Stewart (KsSt) 10:06.01 PR; 9. Lona Latema’ (Ks-Ken) 10:08.31; 10. ***Angelina Napoleon (NCSt) 10:10.40; 11. Olivia Morganti (Penn) 10:19.94; 12. ***Leonie Saurer (Lips) 10:28.79.

II–1. Markezich 9:50.08; 2. Karinauskaite’ 9:50.11; 3. Novak 9:50.18; 4. Lovell 9:54.10; 5. Tavella 9:54.31; 6. Dundon 9:54.53 PR; 7. ***Katie Clute (Or) 9:56.99 PR; 8. Mikenna Vanderheyden’ (WV-Can) 9:59.90 PR; 9. Rachel Anderson (SnIl) 10:03.58; 10. ***Teresa Cherotich’ (SC-Ken) 10:06.10; 11. *Mattison Plummer (IlSt) 10:15.78; 12. Yasmin Austridge’ (CoSt-GB) 10:21.94.