South Bend, Ind.- On a breezy but balmy Friday afternoon at the Notre Dame Invitational, the UTEP men’s cross country team took the team title and knocked off six teams ranked in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches of America poll during the process.
The Miners team total was 89 points and that was good enough to eclipse the second-place team, #27 North Carolina State by eight points.
“They guys ran wonderful,” head coach Paul Ereng said. “All in all, this is the best team performance I have witnessed for us since 2007. This was a very deep national field.
“The guys competed very well as a group and that is what we are trying to do. We have two weeks before our next big meet (Pre Nationals/Louisville, Ky.).”
Anthony Rotich took gold, for the second time in his career at the Notre Dame Invitational, with a stifling 8K time of 23:49.1 to fend off 166 other runners. Freshman Jonah Koech ran stride for stride with Rotich the whole race and ended up taking bronze (23:49.5).
Cosmas Boit, who finished 10th at the 2013 Notre Dame Invitational, registered a 14th-place showing with a personal best mark of 24:07.5. Antony Kosgei (24:20.6) carded a 29th-place finish in his first 8K with the cross country team.
Juniors Daniel Cheruiyot and Evans Kiprono both registered personal bests; Cheruiyot (24:33.1) finished 42nd and Kiprono (25:06.7) placed 101st.
The women’s team was paced by freshman Lilian Koech (17:09.8/5K) who finished 28th in a field of 171 runners and recorded a personal best. Gladys Jerotich clocked a time of 17:45.6 in the 5K to finish 82nd.
“This was a very deep field that included the number one team in the country,” Ereng noted. “Our top two ran well, but there are some things we can get better at.”
Joan Jepkirui crossed the finishline in 18:36.6 to place 149th. Truphena Sum (19:38.9) placed 166th, Lilliana Valdespino (21:38.9/personal best) finished 170th and Yara Cortez-Alaniz (22:32.0) rounded out UTEP’s effort in 171st.