DES MOINES, IA - Iona College outdoor track senior Leonard Korir won his second NCAA National Championship of the 2010-11 school year with a first place finish in the 10,000-meter run at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake University. Korir out kicked Liberty's Sam Chelanga in the back stretch to win the race nearly five seconds.
Around the seventh lap, Korir, Chelanga and Arizona's Stephen Sambu began to break away from the field of 24 in the 10k final. The trio jockeyed for first place position as they traded leads in a game of cat-and-mouse at the front of the pack. With about 1,200-meters remaining, Chelanga made a move to try and breakaway. Korir was up to the challenge as the two separated themselves from Sambu. As the two continued to lead the pack, it was Korir's turn to try and separate himself from his competitor with about 800-meters left. Chelanga held tough though and kept up with Korir until the back stretch when the Iona harrier positioned himself for his second national championship. Korir's final 400-meter split was an incredible 56.18.
Korir's time of 28:07.63 was the second fastest time in Iona history with only his own NCAA qualifying time of 27:29.40 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational being better. He was just .23 off the Drake Stadium record set in 1980 and just over six seconds off the NCAA Championship record set 32 years ago by UTEP's Suleiman Nyambui.
Chelanga finished the event in 28:12.18 while Sambu was third in 28:19.61. Iona junior Alexander Soderberg finished in 30:04.95, his third fastest 10k time in his career in New Rochelle.
After becoming Iona's first-ever national champion in the 5k indoor event in March, Korir has won Iona's first-ever outdoor NCAA crown.
With weather forcing the delay of the 10k event until about 6:30 pm ET this evening, Korir will have less than 24 hours to cool down before he attempts a second NCAA title in the 5,000-meter event on Saturday. The 5k final is scheduled to start at 2:21 pm at Drake Stadium. Iona fans around the country can watch the nationally televised event on CBS with Ian Eagle calling the action, along with analysis and interviews from Larry Rawson, Carol Lewis and Dan O'Brien.
2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Des Moines, IA - Drake University
June 10, 2011
10k: Leonard Korir, 1st, 28:07.63; Alexander Soderberg, 19th, 30:04.95.