By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(17-Jun) — The dominant middle and long distance runner in the NCAA ranks over the last four years, the University of Arizona’s Lawi Lalang, has signed a professional management contract with Global Sports Communication BV of Nijmegmegen, Netherlands, officials announced today.
Lalang, 23, who has been coached throughout his collegiate career by Arizona’s James Li, won eight NCAA titles, and earned a reputation as a fearsome and prolific racer. The Kenyan athlete also set three collegiate records, according to Track & Field News: 5000m indoors (13:08.28) and outdoors (13:00.95*), and the indoor mile (3:52.88). He won NCAA titles in cross country (2011), mile indoors (2013), 3000m indoors (2012, 2013), 5000m indoors (2012), 5000m (2013, 2014), and 10,000m (2013).
“My experience as a student-athlete at the University of Arizona has enabled me be a better holistic individual both on and off the track because it has instilled me with discipline and hard work,” Lalang said through a statement. “I am both ready and grateful to embark on my new journey and explore my talent even more with the help of Global Sports Communication.”
Lalang ended his collegiate career with a flourish at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., last weekend. In a pitched homestretch battle against the University of Oregon’s Edward Cheserek last Friday, Lalang won the 5000m in a meet record 13:18.36, just 35/100ths of a second ahead of Cheserek. He came back on Saturday to take second in the 1500m, losing to Oregon’s Mac Fleet by a whisker: 4/100ths of a second. Had Lalang won the 1500m, he would have been the first NCAA athlete to win the 5000m/1500m double at the NCAA Championships.
“It’s a nice way to finish my career,” Lalang told reporters after his second place finish in the 1500m. He continued: “I’ve done my best. I’ve done all my races with all I’ve got. I’ve got nothing to regret. I’m really happy.”