Kipchirchir, Kandie shine in Old Timers Classic

Sophomore Shadrack Kipchirchir led the WKU men at Saturday’s Old Timers Classic with a time of 24:40:95.

Sam Osborne

Although Shadrack Kipchirchir was just making his debut as a Topper in Saturday’s Old Timers Classic, it appears as though the sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya, will fit right in.

Kipchirchir took second place in the 8,000-meter run to lead the WKU men’s cross country team, finishing with a time of 24:50.95.

“The coaches said I beat my previous time on this course by two minutes,” Kipchirchir said. “I’m very proud.”

Kipchirchir said jitters were a definite factor in Saturday’s race, especially down the finishing straight. Eastern Kentucky runner Soufiane Bouchikhi edged Kipchirchir by a second after passing Kipchirchir in the race’s final stretch.

“I was nervous the entire race,” Kipchirchir said. “Especially the last 100 meters when it was so close.”

Kipchirchir’s run was a pleasant surprise for Head Coach Erik Jenkins, who is eager to see more out of his rookie runner.

“His run was tremendous for our program, but also for himself,” Jenkins said. “We hope he is able to continue this success.”

Junior Deus Rwaheru joined Kipchirchir in the top five, placing fourth with a time of 25:00.47.

Sophomore Kyle Chettleburgh was the team’s only other top-20 finisher, clocking a time of 27:06.13.

Saturday’s meet, which took place at Kerieakes Park, was unscored. Eight squads participated in the meet, including in-state rival Eastern Kentucky and Conference USA member Marshall.

“We came out on a beautiful day in Bowling Green and took advantage of it,” Jenkins said. “Obviously you want to have pride in your university with being able to run in front of your home crowd. Everybody seemed to be up for the race. We’re proud of their performance.”

On the women’s side, senior Marion Kandie took the individual title in the 5,000-meter run, clocking a time of 18:01.01. Kandie’s performance resulted in a new personal record on the course.

“I thought I ran very well,” Kandie said.

In hypothetical dual meet scoring, the Lady Toppers would have taken first place over Eastern Kentucky, who is ranked ninth in the Southeastern Region.

Kandie, who has taken the individual title for the Lady Toppers at the their last two meets, was proud of the team’s performance, attributing it to dedication in practice.

“The team’s performance was really good,” Kandie said. “We have a strong team, and we’ve been training well.”

Junior Michelle Finn finished just behind Kandie, placing second with a time of 18:26.63.

The squads will take off next weekend before returning to action Oct. 2 in the Greater Louisville Classic.

“Our season is a slow progression,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to try to continue to stay healthy.”