IRVING, TEXAS-The UTEP men’s cross country team is picked to finish first notching nine first-place votes in the Preseason Conference USA poll announced the league on Wednesday.
After finishing a phenomenal season last year, the Miners are ready to take the competition by storm. The 2016 UTEP men’s cross country squad has five runners returning. Three seniors, Cosmas Boit, Daniel Cheruiyot, and Evans Kipono, as well as two sophomores Jonah Koech, and Antony Kosgei.
During the 2015 campaign, the men’s cross country team saw a series of victories. The Miners appeared in their second straight NCAA Championships and finished 11th in the nation. Preceding the NCAA Championships, the men’s cross country team triumphed at the NCAA Mountain Regionals, earning a second-place finish (77 points) over No. 3 BYU, and fell short to No. 1 Colorado (67 points).
The team ran away with the 2015 Conference USA Championships title, tallying 19 points to claim the first-place victory by a landslide; Middle Tennessee followed the Miners with 58 points. The Miners claimed their fifth team tittle in 11 years in C-USA, and the first since 2009. The men’s team also placed five runners in the C-USA first team (top seven finishers).
Standout sophomore Koech receives the role as a new team leader after having an amazing freshman season in 2015. Koech led the Miners at the NCAA Championships finishing 11th, being the first freshman to cross the finish line in the 10K, and is the first freshman at UTEP since 2012 to receive cross country All-American honors.
Boit finished at the NCAA Mountain Regionals 10K with a time of 30:16.89 for 13th place, and placed third at the C-USA Championships 8K race to earn his third straight first team honor.
Cheruiyot placed seventh at the Conference Championships with an 8K time of 24:54.0 to earn first team all-conference honors, and finished 35th at the NCAA Mountain Regionals with a 10K time of 31:16.38
At the C-USA Championships Kiprono finished 30th with an 8K time of 26:02.1, finished his 10K at the NCAA Championships in 33:14.3, and placed 45th at the NCAA Mountain Regionals with a 10K time of 31:41.58.
Kosgei earned 2015 All-C-USA First Team honors as he took sixth place at C-USA Championships with an 8K time of 24:53.1, and placed 28th at the NCAA Mountain Regionals with a time of 30:49.66 in the 10K.
The Miners are set to run their first race of the 2016 campaign Sept. 3 in Albuquerque, N.M at the UNM Invite and are prepared to host the Lori Fitzgerald Classic the following week Sept. 9 for the only home meet of the season.