On Friday afternoon at the UNM Golf Course, freshman Jonah Koech became only the second runner in UTEP program history (Anthony Rotich-2014) to win an NCAA Mountain Regional. Koech and Rotich dashed to a one-two finish on their way to securing UTEP a berth in the Big Dance.
“Jonah and Anthony controlled the race from the beginning,” UTEP cross country head coach Paul Ereng said. “With about 1K left in the race, they made a push together and finished out the race strong.
“I was very pleased with how the other four runners performed as well and they looked amazing today. Today’s race was well executed in high altitude and we knocked off the No. 3 team in the country (BYU). I think we have a very good chance of finishing strong next weekend at the NCAA Championships.”
The UTEP men placed all six of their runners inside the top 45 in a field of 106 athletes to earn a final tally of 77 points. The Miners nearly upset No. 1 Colorado (67 points), but were able to defeat the third ranked BYU Cougars (98 points).
Koech and Rotich who have been running mates all year long dominated the 10K course in Albuquerque. Koech (29:57.50) and Rotich (29:57.59) pulled away from the lead pack with less than 800 meters to go and the rest was history. The duo became the first tandem in UTEP history to register a one-two showing at the NCAA Mountain Regionals.
Junior Cosmas Boit turned in a valiant effort on his way to a 13th-place showing with a 10K time of 30:16.89. Antony Kosgei crossed the finish line in 28th place with a readout of 30:49.66.
Daniel Cheruiyot (31:16.38/35th) and Evans Kiprono (31:41.58/45th) were the final finishers for the Orange and Blue.
The men’s team will travel to Louisville, Ky., next weekend (Nov. 21/Saturday) for the NCAA Championships.
The women’s team was able to place three underclassmen inside the top 50 in a field of 127 runners on Friday afternoon, but none were able to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Freshman standout Lilian Koech paced the way for the Orange and Blue by clocking a 6K time of 22:00.64 to place 37th.
Sophomore Joan Jepkirui and freshman Gladys Jerotich finished back to back in 46th and 47th place; Jepkirui (22:16.14) and Jerotich (22:16.84) ran well together.
Truphena Sum clocked a 6K time of 23:49.90 and Lilliana Valdespino followed up with a readout of 26:43.70
Author: UTEP Athletics