Reigning conference champions Risper Kimaiyo and Elkana Rotich will look to defend their titles on Monday, Oct. 31 when the UTEP men’s and women’s cross country teams take the field in Houston, Texas for the 2011 Conference USA Cross Country Championships
Kimaiyo became the third female in league history to win back-to-back titles. She took first-place with a personal best of 16:27 at last year’s meet in the women’s 5K. The All-American was named the C-USA Athlete of the Year following her breakout sophomore campaign leading the women to a third-place finish at the meet.
Kimaiyo is supported by Karina Garcia who crossed the finish line 21st with a time of 17:42 for All-C-USA third team accolades. Senior Kitria Stewart ran a personal best at last year’s conference meet posting a time of 18:38. Rounding out the women’s team is Gladys Chepsat, Laura Delgado and Jackline Ekai.
Leading the men is Rotich who finished on top at last year’s meet with a time of 23:30. The junior has received C-USA Athlete of the Week honors three times this season and looks to defend his title at the C-USA Championships.
Following closely behind is Justice Chirchir, who crossed the finish line in second-place a year ago with a time of 23:41. Chirchir earned the league’s Athlete of the Week honors for his performance at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational. The Miners expect a boost from Solomon Gardea and Abel Koskey who each clocked a season-best at the Pre-National Invitational with a time of 25:05 and 25:26, respectively. Newcomers Juan Blanco and Ramon Garcia complete the Miners six-man squad.
The men’s 8K is scheduled for a 9 a.m. (CDT) start followed by the women’s 5K race at 10 a.m.