Ndhlovu Takes Home Fourth In Debut Race At NCAA Nationals
PUEBLO, Colo. – After concluding the final race of the 2012 season for the UNCP men's track and field team, junior Pardon Ndhlovu earned his first all-American laurel in track with a fourth place finish in the 10000m run at the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday evening.
Despite holding fourth place with a mile remaining, Ndhlovu pulled himself to within a tie for third as he rounded the curve and kept tight with the competition as the top four runners stayed close at the 800m mark. The top three leaders pulled ahead of Ndhlovu with 400m remaining, but he finished the race with a time of 31:26.45 and was 15 seconds behind the race champion from Western State.
Ndhlovu is the second multi-sport all-American at UNCP, joining former Pembroke State cross country and track and field standout Garry Henry (1976-82) who was a four-time all-American in cross country and nine-time all-American in track and field.
Ndhlovu competed in the final race of the night and stayed tight in the pack of runners in fourth place for the first six minutes before he moved into third around the curve with 20 laps remaining. As the Zimbabwe native turned the corner at the nine-minute mark, he slid into eighth, but regained his momentum and moved back into fifth.
The close-nit pack remained together for a majority of the race with alternating leaders choosing the pace as no runner was able to separate itself from the bunch. At the 15:30 mark, Ndhlovu strided into third place as he was eight feet behind the first two runners from Kenya when the field started to disperse throughout the track.
The top eight runners moved into a smaller group as 20 minutes passed in the race with Ndhlovu holding steady to fourth place and pacing himself no more than an arm's length from the lead runner. With six laps left to run at the 24:30 mark, separation occurred with Ndhlovu moving into second place with the remaining pack trailing.
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) awards all-American status to the top-eight finishers in each individual and relay event.