Oct. 30, 2009
EL PASO – The UTEP cross country teams will travel to The Woodlands, Texas, for the 2009 Conference USA Cross Country Championships scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Bear Branch Sportsfield.
Scheduled for a 10 a.m. (MDT) start, the UTEP men will look to dethrone 2008 champion Tulsa for their fourth C-USA title in five years. The task will not be easy as the Golden Hurricane return All-American and last year’s individual champion John Beattie.
With just two runners returning from 2008, the Miners go into Saturday’s race ranked seventh in the USTFCCCA Mountain Region with only Tulsa achieving higher rankings, No. 29 on the national poll and fourth in the Midwest Region. All-American Nicodemus Ng’etich and Aggrey Chirchir will lead newcomers Robert Menjo, Justice Chirchir, Elkana Rotich, Felix Maritim and Solomon Gardea in the 8K race.
The UTEP women, ranked 25th nationally and fifth in the Mountain Region, are clear contenders for their first conference championship in more than 20 years when they take the field for 5K race at 10 a.m. Dating back 20 years, the women’s highest finish at a conference championship was second place achieved in 1996 and 2003.
The women will also have to go past last year’s individual champion, SMU’s Silje Fjortoft. Fjortoft led the Mustangs to their first C-USA crown in school history after posting a course record in 2008 with a time of 16:46. UTEP, however, has freshman Risper Kimaiyo, a three-time Conference USA Athlete of the Week this season. Kimaiyo has led the Miners in all five races this fall and is heavily supported by a cast made up of Kathya Garcia, Jepchirchir Kigen, Gladys Chumba and Karina Garcia.
The first 21 men and women to cross the finish line at the conference championships will be named to the C-USA All-Conference first (1-7), second (8-14), and third (15-21) teams.
For championship results visit http://conferenceusa.cstv.com/championships/09-c-xc-championship.html.