Tuesday was a good day for the UTEP cross country program. The men’s team finally cracked the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association top-30 poll and Anthony Rotich (male) and Lilian Koech (female) were named the Conference USA Athletes of the Week.
Coming off a dominant performance at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, the men’s team catapulted itself all the way to the 13th spot in the country. The Miners knocked off five ranked teams on their way to a team victory. UTEP scored a team total of 89 points to knock off second-place North Carolina State (97 points).
The trendsetter for the Miners was four-time national champion Anthony Rotich. With one of the best performances in the country, he took gold, for the second time in his career at the Notre Dame Invitational, with an 8K time of 23:49.1. For his efforts, he was named the Male Conference USA Athlete of the Week; this is his first award during the 2015 season, and a conference record 12th time during his career. Rotich won the race in wire-to-wire fashion and bested 166 other athletes.
Lilian Koech collected a personal best on Saturday with a 5K time of 17:09.8 to finish 28th in a field of 171 runners. The freshman, who was running at her first national meet, maintained her composure throughout the race and stuck with her pace to lead the Miners.
Koech was ablet to keep up and knock off several elite runners in a race field that included a plethora of USTFCCCA nationally ranked opponents (as of Sept. 29: No. 1 New Mexico, No. 14 NC State, No. 20 Notre Dame, RV Purdue and RV SMU). This is the freshman’s first C-USA weekly award of her cross country career and UTEP’s second female athlete of the week honor in 2015.
Author: UTEP Athletics