The UTEP men’s and women’s cross country teams hosted the Lori Fitzgerald Classic, their only home meet of the season, Friday afternoon at the Chamizal Memorial National Park. The men’s team had another thunderous performance as they took the top six spots, and the women placed four runners inside the top six.
UTEP competed against El Paso Community College, New Mexico State and Eastern New Mexico.
The men’s team, who is receiving votes in the national USTFCCCA poll, dominated the whole race and protected home ground. The Miners used the same strategy as they did in their first meet and ran in a six-pack the whole race.
In what was a pretty cool finish, the Miners synonymously passed the finish line at the exact same time, almost. Daniel Cheruiyot, Antony Kosgei and Anthony Rotich were awarded first, second and third place with a 6.5K time of 20:18.1.
Fourth through sixth place belonged to Cosmas Boit, Evans Kiprono and Jonah Koech, all of whom recorded a time one-hundredth of a second after the first three: 20:18.2.
The men cruised the course at an effortless mile pace of 5:07.
For the second week in a row, a freshman claimed gold; Lilian Koech won her first career cross country race with a 5K time of 17:19.6. Fellow freshman Gladys Jerotich registered a second-place showing with a time of 17:24.7. 2014 Conference USA Freshman of the Meet, Joan Jepkirui (17:39.2), carded her second straight third-place finish. Not too far behind her was junior Truphena Sum (18:28.6), who finished sixth.
Lilliana Valdespino (21:24.3) and Yara Cortez Alaniz (21:53.3) rounded out the solid performance for the Orange and Blue.
Up next, the Miners will head to Las Cruces next Saturday (Sept. 19) for their third meet of the season.