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UNM track star named national athlete of the week

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By The Staff

New Mexico track and field student-athlete Josh Kerr was named Monday as NCAA Division I Men’s National Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Kerr, a redshirt sophomore from Edinburgh, Scotland, ran a personal-record time of 3 minutes, 54.72 seconds to win the elite Wanamaker Mile at the 2018 NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday at The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in New York City.

Racing against a field that included six Olympians, Kerr showed off his middle-distance acumen on arguably one of the most prominent stages in all of track and field, earning his second career National Athlete of the Week honor.

His time of 3:54.72 makes him the fifth-fastest collegian in the mile run in NCAA history with the sixth-fastest mile time in NCAA history.

After opening the race in the back half of the 12-runner field, Kerr rallied over the final stages of the race, moving from eighth at 800 meters to second at the line. He finished the final 200 meters in 27.69 seconds, the best split by any athlete over the entire race.

He also nearly caught the eventual Wanamaker Mile winner Chris O’Hare at the line, as O’Hare won in 3:54.14.

Nonetheless, Kerr’s time of 3:54.72 currently ranks third in the world in 2018, behind Edward Cheserek, who ran a time of 3:53.85 on Saturday in North Carolina, and O’Hare.

However, Kerr is the only athlete in NCAA history to rank top-six in both the mile and its outdoor counterpart, the 1500.

Kerr ran a time of 3:35.99 in the 1500 last spring to rank No. 6 in NCAA history.

Additionally, Kerr broke both Miles Batty’s Mountain West mile record (3:55.79) and the New Mexico mile record of 3:57.62 set by two-time NCAA champ Lee Emanuel in 2010.

Kerr leads the NCAA in the mile this year by nearly a second, and leads the MW by nearly four seconds.

His mile time also ranks fifth all-time by a British athlete.

Over the last calendar year (February 2016-present), Kerr placed in the top two in 16 of 18 track races he’s run for UNM (preliminary rounds and finals), with only a pair of pacing runs as his finishes outside of the top two.

Kerr’s selection is the New Mexico cross country/track and field program’s sixth-ever National Athlete of the Week honor.

Last spring, he earned the award after running his 3:35.99 in the 1500, while Ednah Kurgat claimed two such honors during her undefeated cross country season last fall. Courtney Frerichs, who was selected in May 2016, and Charlotte Arter, who was selected during the 2014 cross country season, have also earned the honor.