The UTEP cross country team is heading to Provo, Utah, to compete at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships at the East Bay Golf Course on Friday.
The women’s team will take the course first in the 6K run at 11 a.m. MT, followed by the men’s 10K race set for 12 p.m.
Five of the 20 women’s Mountain Region teams head into this week’s meet nationally ranked (No. 1 New Mexico, No. 4 Colorado, No. 9 BYU, No. 22 Southern Utah and No. 28 Northern Arizona).
The women are coming off a stellar showing at the 2018 Conference USA Championships. The Miners claimed their first conference title in program history with four of the top-six spots on the leaderboard.
Leading the way for UTEP was junior Linda Cheruiyot, who took the conference crown with a time of 16:56.12 in the 5K. She was the first Miner to win the C-USA individual title since 2012.
Teammate Winny Koech was closely behind Cheruiyot, notching a second-place finish at the conference championships. The junior won the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational with a time of 20:00.9 in the 6K.
Carolyne Chepkosgei and Lilian Koech have been consistent runners for the Miners. Chepkosgei earned C-USA first-team honors and registered a fifth-place finish of 20:19.5 at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational in the 6K. Koech garnered conference first-team recognition with a time of 17:15.86.
Six of the 17 men’s Mountain Region teams will enter the meet nationally ranked (No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 2 BYU, No. 8 Colorado, No. 13 Air Force, No. 14 Colorado State and No. 18 Wyoming.)
Leading the way for the men is freshman Boaz Ronoh, who finished second overall at the C-USA Championships with a time of 24:11.38 in the 8K.
Also highlighting the men’s squad is Rodgers Korir. The freshman clocked in a personal best of 24:12.9 at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational in the 8K. He also received C-USA first-team honors after posting a fifth-place finish at the conference meet.
Teams that finish first and second in each region automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships while the remaining teams await the decision concerning 13 national at-large bids. The at-large selection is determined through a review of regular-season competition and finish at regional championships.
After teams have been determined, 38 additional individuals per gender are selected to compete at the NCAA Championships. Among individuals not selected as members of qualifying teams in the above process, the top four finishers at each regional meet are automatically selected (each must have finished within the top 25 of the region).
At-large selection: Two additional athletes will be selected from the remainder of the national pool (and must have finished in the regional top 25) as at-large individuals.