BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Eastern Kentucky University freshman James Sugira will race for a national title in the 5,000 meters on Friday night at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The race is scheduled to go off at 9:27 p.m. ET at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
The meet will stream live on ESPN3.
Sugira qualified for the national championships by running a school-record time of 13:37.8 at the Washington Husky Classic in Seattle on February 8.
He enters the meet ranked No. 7 out of 16 runners.
Sugira is EKU’s first NCAA indoor qualifier in a track event since Soufiane Bouchikhi and Lydia Kosgei both made it in the 5,000 meters in 2012. Bouchikhi finished 11th in the men’s 5K that year.
In 2008, Jacob Korir nearly won an NCAA indoor 5,000 meters title for EKU, finishing second by less than two seconds with a time of 13:52.9.
Sugira is the only athlete – male or female – from the Ohio Valley Conference to qualify for this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships.
The native of Kigali, Rwanda will be competing against some of the top distance runners in the nation, including 2018 cross country national champion Morgan McDonald (Wisconsin), who comes in ranked just ahead of Sugira at No. 6 (13:37.85). Northern Arizona’s Tyler Day comes in with the top-ranked time of 13:31.3 (converted).
— www.EKUSports.com ––