Kipchirchir again leads WKU cross country

Sam Osborne

Sophomore Shadrack Kipchirchir continued his string of impressive performances Saturday, placing 10th in the 8,000-meter white race at the Indiana State University Pre-Nationals at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.     

“You couldn’t have asked him to run that well at that stage,” Head Coach Erik Jenkins said. “Shadrack continues to have the same mindset to work hard and perform well.”

Men’s long distance coach Curtiss Long was proud to see another great performance from Kipchirchir.

“He came out of the box with a great effort,” Long said. “He did well against some outstanding competition, running against nearly 300 runners.”  

Kipchirchir finished with a time of 23:54.5. Junior Deus Rwaheru clocked a time of 24:28.4, good enough for 41st place. Overall, the men’s squad finished 29th out of 35 teams in the white division.  

On the women’s side, senior Marion Kandie led the team with a 38th-place finish in the 6,000-meter white race, clocking a time of 21:08.5. Her time was a personal record on the course.

“Marion has been making good progression the entire season,” said Michelle Scott, women’s long distance coach. “She’s been battling a hip injury the past couple of weeks.”  

The women’s team placed 30th out of 40 teams in the white division. Scott said she was pleased with the squad’s performance, especially with the stiff competition the team faced.

“I’m happy with how we did,” Scott said. “It was a very hard, intense meet.”  

The meet, which is run on a course used for the NCAA Championships, is the biggest regular season meet in the nation.   

Long said running on the national championship course and competing against elite competition is essential in building a successful program.

“There is no substitute for experience,” Long said. “Playing in meets like these is crucial in developing athletes.”

Jenkins said competing in meets with such elite talent is helpful in building a strong program.

“Competing in meets like these make a world of difference when you’re trying to develop a program,” Jenkins said. “We try to take every opportunity we can to improve.”  

The meet provided a good final tune-up for WKU with the Sun Belt Conference Championships taking place Oct. 30 at Kereiakes Park in Bowling Green.  

With less than two weeks until the conference championships, Jenkins is looking to make some final adjustments before entering the postseason.

“We’re looking for improvement in our  three, four and five runners,” Jenkins said. “To have a strong, championship-caliber team, you have to be strong one through five.”