Everlyn Kemboi Wins 10,000m, First NCAA Track Title for Utah Valley

AUSTIN, Tex. — Everlyn Kemboi destroyed the field over the final three laps to win Utah Valley’s first NCAA track title in 32:39.08 on Thursday as Emily Venters, the sixth-year senior from Utah, was second (32:47.70) ahead of defending champ Mercy Chelangat (32:49.62) of Alabama.

Fourteen women were in the lead pack at halfway (16:44). The pace then picked up a bit and the pack was whittled down to nine, and then it was five women still together with a mile to go.  

Kemboi started pushing with about 1000m to go and opened up a gap with two laps to go over Chelangat as the lead pack was splintering behind her.

Kemboi was just getting going and ran a 69.46 penultimate lap to build a six-second lead at the bell. She’d finish it off with a 68.81 to get the win as Venters ran 70.82 on the final lap to pass Chelangat (73.09).

Article continues below player.

Race video.

Results and analysis below.

Smiles for Kemboi
sults: Women 10000 M (Final)
Pl Athlete Time
1 Everlyn KEMBOI
Utah Valley [JR]
32:39.08  FR 
Utah [SR]
Alabama [SR]
New Mexico [JR]
Alabama [SO]
6 Cailie LOGUE
Iowa State [SR]
7 Amanda VESTRI
Syracuse [SR]
8 Kelsey CHMIEL
NC State [JR]
Baylor [SR]
Miami (Ohio) [JR]
12 Alexandra HAYS
NC State [SR]
13 Molly BORN
Oklahoma State [SO]
14 Gracelyn LARKIN
New Mexico [JR]
15 Camila NOE
Montana State [SR]
Boston University [SO]
17 Kenzie DOYLE
UMass Lowell [SO]
18 Sophie ATKINSON
Virginia [FR]
19 Eleanor MANCINI
La Salle [SR]
20 Mariah HOWLETT
NC State [JR]
21 Monica HEBNER
Texas [JR]
Colorado [SR]
Notre Dame [SO]
Colorado St. [JR]

QT: A long road to the top for Kemboi

Until today, Kemboi was most known on LetsRun for entering the 1500, 5k, and 10k at NCAA regionals. That seemed like a crazy triple and then she only ran 5:12 in the 1500 because of “stomach issues,” but wasn’t disqualified from the meet for the honest effort rule.

That was fortunate for her, and she showed it tonight.

It was a long road for Kemboi, who went to high school in the distance running mecca of Iten, Kenya, and is now on top of the NCAA ranks. The Deseret News explains that she came to the US intending to go to UTEP but they told her they didn’t have a scholarship so she enrolled at El Paso Community College, where she won the junior college XC crown in 2018 and was second in 2019. After being a junior college star, she accepted a scholarship to the University of Arizona. She said she did not want to compete because she was scared of COVID-19 and removed from the team as a result. Then when she first came to Utah Valley in 2021, Kemboi was really out of shape. But she persevered and was 19th at NCAA cross this past fall and now is your NCAA 10,000m champion. Prior to tonight, she’d never even scored at NCAAs, let alone won a title.

She told us after the race that she was very confident in her kick and feels good about her chances in the 5000, where she hopes to challenge Katelyn Tuohy. She hopes to return to Kenya and turn pro.

Anyone who watched the West regional knew why she was confident in her kick. Even though there was no reason to do it, she dropped a 65 on the last lap of both the 10,000 and 5,000, winning both races by 5+ seconds – a 65.11 in the 10,000 (32:05.56) and 65.75 in the 5000 (15:20.25).

QT: Emily Venters’ circuitous collegiate career ends with a runner-up finish

Venters has been running in college since the fall of 2017, when she was 53rd at NCAA XC as a true freshman for Boise State. Since then, she has transferred twice, dealt with a variety of injuries, and almost quit the sport. But tonight, two days after her 24th birthday in her final race after six years of college, Venters had her best NCAA finish, 2nd in the 10,000 meters.

“I never thought I would be back in this place, let alone getting a runner-up finish,” Venters said.

Venters said that her time at Colorado, where she transferred after two years in Boise, was “a really, really rough time in my life. I was actually really close to medically retiring from running altogether. I had a lot of people telling me that I should probably do that, but there was something in me that told me I should just give it another go.”

Venters graduated from CU in 2021 and with two years of eligibility remaining decided she wanted a fresh start. Venters had not raced at all from February 2019 to September 2021, but Utah coach Kyle Kepler took a chance on Venters and it has paid off for both of them.

“He was like, if you can just run 16:20 again, finish out your NCAA career on a higher note, that’s what I want for you,” Venters said.

She has done much more than that. She will leave college with pbs of 15:26 and 31:48 as well as a runner-up showing at NCAAs. What’s more, Venters will have a shot to do something that would have seemed impossible three years ago: pursue a professional running career.

QT: Syracuse’s Amanda Vestri is looking forward to the 26.2 distance

After a sixth-place finish indoors in the 5000, Vestri told us it is her “dream” to run postcollegiately and attack the 26.2-mile distance, one in which coach Brien Bell thinks she’ll excel. After finishing 7th tonight, Vestri reiterated she’s still looking forward to running 26.2.

Talk about day 2 of the 2023 NCAAs on our world-famous fan forum / messageboard.

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  6. Can KT Tuohy frontrun her way to a 1500 Championship? And then Double back for a 5k Title?
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