The man, the myth, the legend—Anthony Rotich

Junior+All-American+Anthony+Rotich+is+one+of+the+most+decorated+Track+and+Field+athletes+in+the+program%E2%80%99s+history+after+three+years

Michaela Roman

Junior All-American Anthony Rotich is one of the most decorated Track and Field athletes in the program’s history after three years

Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter

Coming from humble beginnings in Nairobi, Kenya, junior distance runner Anthony Rotich has risen to stardom in his three years at UTEP, and his path to greatness started long before his arrival to El Paso.

Growing up, in order to get to school, Rotich ran four miles. He did not want to be late for class and the nearest school was that far away.

When it was time to eat, Rotich ran back to his village, ate and ran back to school. After school was over, he ran back home.

Rotich can’t hold back his large grin when he’s called a human bicycle. This might be part of the reason Rotichhas earned so much success as a cross country and track and field runner.

“At the end of the day, you would be running 12 to 16 miles a day. In my community, everybody is a runner,” Rotich said.

His punctuality, combined with his priority to do well in school, has resulted in numerous individual accolades. Rotich also carries a 3.0 GPA. He remains extremely humble through all of his success.

A short time after Rotich claimed his third national championship in three years at UTEP, his father gave him a call to congratulate him on a job well done. Immediately after, he asked his son, “What about your GPA in class?”

Once he got off the phone with his father, Wilson Boit, his herogave him a call.

“My hero is a guy from my village,” Rotich said.

Boit won silver for Kenya at the Sydney, Australia Summer Olympic games in 2000, competing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event.  Three years earlier on Aug. 13, 1997, Boit held the world record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 7 minutes, 59.08 seconds. The record was broken 11 days later.

Boit called Anthony to congratulate him on his victory, but also to ask about his GPA.

“He and my father value education more than athletics,” Rotich said. “He is one of the great leaders in my community. He is going to be a member
of parliament.”  

His timeliness is on point, which is evident in his races. It’s his awareness and humility that makes Rotich such a dynamic individual. With all his success, Rotich only talks about how much he appreciates what UTEP has done for him.

Rotich is glad that he can receive an education to pursue his dream of being a civil engineer. This will come after the Olympics (summer 2016 in Rio de Janiero), which Anthony says he will pursue.

“It’s like a dream that has not yet matured. It’s a dream that I’m still going along with. I really appreciate everything UTEP is doing for me,” he said. 

Rotich was recently named Conference USA Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the second straight year. 

Boit is a track and field runner, along with cross-country runner Rotich. He grew up 20 miles away from Anthony’s village.

Boit says he trains with Rotich 95 percent of the time. Rotich was impressed by Cosmas talents, and said he could not run as quick as Cosmas runs now as a freshman. What Cosmas recognizes in Rotich is discipline mixed with humility.

“He is a guy that is so dedicated,” Cosmas said. “Especially when it comes to training— he always tells me you have to be dedicated at what you are doing. In long running or walk-throughs, you have to be disciplined. He is a guy with so much discipline and he is humble. Whenever he is told something in his workouts, he always listens.”

Hidden in the mountainous terrain of UTEP, it doesn’t take a prospector and dynamite to find something golden. UTEP athletics have garnered 21 national titles in its history. One of those titles goes to the famous 1966 men’s basketball team. The other 20 belong to men’s cross country team, along with the men’s indoor and outdoor track and field team.

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected]