Photo: Michael Patrick Reese | UTEP
UTEP cross country team is set to travel to the Midwest this weekend to compete at the 61st annual Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The University’s Burke (9-hole) Golf Course will host a total of 59 schools for five races beginning at 12 p.m. (MT) on Friday.
The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) nationally rank the UTEP men’s team at No. 18. The men’s squad is scheduled for a 12:45 p.m. (MT) start in the men’s 8K blue race; their first 8K race of the season. The women’s team will run in the women’s 5K gold race at 2:15 p.m. MT.
This will be the biggest meet of the season thus far for the Miners. The men will take on schools ranked top-25 in the nation by USTFCCCA. No. 9 Eastern Kentucky, No. 12 Wisconsin, and No. 20 Mississippi are the big competitors to watch out for on the course.
The men’s team totals five veteran returnees to the Notre Dame Invitational out of the seven runners competing for UTEP.
Sophomore Jonah Koech took bronze at last year’s Notre Dame Invite with an 8K time of 23:49.5. On Sept. 17, Koech clocked a second-place 6.4K time of 19:24.65 at the Kachina Classic.
Another front-runner for the nationally ranked team is Cosmas Boit, who registered a 14th-place showing with a personal best mark of 24:07.5 at last years meet. Boit earned a Conference USA Athlete of the Week honor this season for his first-place showing (15:12.20) at the UNM Lobo Invitational.
Sophomore Antony Kosgei will be returning to Notre Dame for a second time in his career. Last year he carded a 29th-place finish in his first 8K (24:20.6). Kosgei has had great success this season so far, tallying two top-three finishes at the Lori Fitzgerald Classic 6.4K (1st/ 19:09.30) and at the UNM Lobo Invite 5K (3rd/15:12.40).
Daniel Cheruiyot and Evans Kiprono both registered personal bests at last season’s meet at Notre Dame. Cheruiyot (24:33.1) finished 42nd and Kiprono (25:06.7) placed 101st. Cheruiyot has garnered two top-three finishes this season so far, clinching first at the Kachina Classic’s 6.4K (19:24. 25), and taking silver (15:12.20) in the 5K race at the UNM Lobo Invite.
Newcomers Michael Saruni and Emmanuel Korir will run their first 8K for UTEP at this year’s Notre Dame Invite. Saruni ran his first race for the Miners at the Kachina Classic where he was third to cross the finish to secure a 6.4K time of 19:45.13. Korir has ran in all meets for UTEP this season where his best finish was at the Lori Fitzgerald Classic 6.4K race (6th/ 21:48.00)
The UTEP women’s team travels three veterans; Lilian Koech, Gladys Jerotich, and Truphena Sum, to the course at Notre Dame of the seven runners.
Koech seeks to best her time from last years meet where she crossed the finish line with a 5K time of 17:09.8 to finish 28th in a field of 171 runners. Koech was named C-USA Co-Athlete of the Week (Sept. 20) for her first-place 5K-performance at the Kachina Classic (17:34.36).
Jerotich has an individual title under her belt this season as she collected a 17:49.50 first-place finish at the Lori Fitzgerald Classic. She will strive to better her 17:45. 5K finish (82nd) from last year’s Notre Dame meet.
Truphena Sum will run in her last Notre Dame Invite this Friday. The senior has accomplished a top-ten finish at the Lori Fitzgerald Classic of eighth-place (18:50.10/4.7K). Sum placed 166th (19:38.9) at last year’s Notre Dame Invite.
Freshman newcomer Linda Cheruiyot will run the Notre Dame course for the first time in her career at UTEP.
Rounding out the UTEP women’s team is Veronica Alvarez, Kayla Pallares, and Winny Koech.