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Rotich leads Miners to regional qualifiers

Michaela Roman / The Prospector
Sophomore Anthony Rotich conquered his second consecutive conference title on Nov. 5.

The UTEP cross-country team is preparing for the NCAA Mountain Region Finals on Nov. 15 in Ogden, Utah.

The Miners were edged by Rice by one point and landed in fourth place at the Conference USA Championships on Nov. 5. Tulsa finished on the top spot of the standings for a record fourth time in a row. Although the Miners finished just outside of medaling, sophomore All-American Anthony Rotich snagged first place as an individual in the Conference Championship for the second year in a row.

“We tried our best, “ Rotich said. ”We gave it our best effort and I was able to defend my title, so that was good.”

Rotich clocked in a time of 24:31.57 in the 8-km race. This was also his fifth victory overall in the 2013 season.

Rotich took the gold, but freshman teammate Cosmas Boit was not far behind, finishing third with a time of 24:53.62. Boit was also the first freshman to cross the line at the meet and was dabbed “Freshman of the Meet.”

Also with a solid showing came from sophomore Elphas Maiyo as he fished sixth out of 96 competitors.

The Miners had three members make the First Team All-Conference honors. Tulsa took the remaining four spots.

On the women’s side, the Miners had a tough showing as they failed to place. head coach Paul Ereng is still confident in this squad, as he said earlier in the year that they are still in a rebuilding process, but will be ready next year to  compete.

However, the focus now is on the NCAA Mountain Regional as Rotich and the Miners try to earn a spot in the NCAA national championships in Terre Haute, Ind., Nov. 23.

“Going to regionals, everybody is trying to fight for nationals. The competition will be very strong, but we are going to try our best,” Rotich said. “Most of the team from last year were freshman. Now they’re experienced and have a better understanding of regionals. I’m ready for it and my teammates are ready for it.”

Since the end of the C-USA championships, the Miners have been preparing for a 10,000-meter run instead of the usual 8,000 meters, but have had a short time to prepare for the tougher competitions that lay ahead.

“When the season started, we did lighter workouts and now coach (Ereng) has been preparing us for the 10,000-meter format,” Rotich said.

As every runner will tell you, it’s how you finish, not how you start and Rotich has been learning this.

“Last year, I was just running and not caring where I finished. Right now I know when to start slowly and when to run fast. I have learned to pace myself. I know how to finish it strong,” Rotich said. “At regionals there was a lot of competition. The leaderboard is always tightly packed. We know that we have to be at our best all the time. Coach Ereng prepared us well.”

Last year, Rotich not only made the NCAA Championships, but also managed to finish fourth and hopes that the preparation, mindset and experience will help him out this year to have an even better performance.

Rotich seems to have the right mindset not just for track, but for life in general. His blueprint is very simple.

“Being focused will get you anything in life,” Rotich says, “Being focused helps me be determined.”

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Luis Barrio
Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter
Luis Barrio is a staff reporter specializing in Sports. He is also the co-host of the Prospector News Weekly, a weekly broadcast that covers all of the top stories at UTEP. He is a Senior graduating in December 2014. Luis is a product of El Paso, TX. He enjoys being outdoors and being physically active. His family comes before anything else. He is a big sports enthusiast and a fan of good movies. Luis spent the summer of 2013 interning for ABC-7 KVIA. Upon graduation Luis aspires to work for CBS as a sports broadcaster. “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever a having felt sorry for itself.” D.H. Lawrence
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Rotich leads Miners to regional qualifiers