Men’s cross country wins again


Michaela Roman

(Left to right) sophomore Evans Kripono, senior Ramon Garcia, junior Anthony Rotich, sophomore Cosmas Boit, sophomore Daniel Cheruiyot, junior Elphas Maiyo. The 2014 men’s cross country team poses after winning the 2014 Lori Fitzgerald Classic at Chamizal National Park.

Javier Cortez, Sports Editor

The UTEP men’s cross country team is in top form heading into the latter stages of their fall season coming off another spectacular performance at the Lori Fitzgerald Classic.

Four weeks into the season, it has been nothing but perfection for the men’s team. The Miners have swept the competition in all four meets and individually they have excelled too. Junior All-American Anthony Rotich has set the precedent for the Miners this season, winning four consecutive races with no competition coming close to challenging him.

In his last meet at the Fitzgerald Classic, the Miners’ only home meet all season, Rotich ran a blistering time of 16 minutes, 49 seconds, 81 milliseconds in the men’s 6K run.

Rotich’s success from the 2014 spring track and field season has carried over, but the All-American has stayed humble, only addressing his success as a team success.

“We have a plan as a team to run together,” Rotich said. “That’s what we have been doing from the start. There has been a great improvement since we started at the beginning of the calendar (season).”

Head coach Paul Ereng thinks Rotich’s spectacular start will benefit him in the long run, when the Conference USA and national championships come along.

“He’s on schedule and he is running very well,” Ereng said. “I think he should be able to perform well at conference and the national meet.”

Coming in right behind Rotich for the last three meets has been sophomore Cosmas Boit. The Kenya native has been a consistent second runner to Rotich, and one of the many young and talented runners on the Miners’ long depth chart.

In three of the first four meets, the Miners have had a least four runners place within the top 10, sweeping the top two spots in all four meets this season, and they swept the top three spots in three of their four meets.

“I think there has been a great improvement, I am happy with the performance of everybody,” Ereng said “After six weeks we can see a lot of adaptation to the practice, so maybe in another two weeks we can see the real improvement from the workouts that we have been doing.”

Although the Miners’ success has been recognized locally and on a national level, the praise has yet to come. The Miners’ next meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the Chili Pepper Festival Invitational may help alleviate
the problem.

“There will be a lot of schools competing, so that will be a very tough meet,” Ereng said. “Every major college is going to be there and put their best foot forward, so we are looking forward to see what we can do there.”

The Chili Pepper Festival includes 80 teams in total, which will be the biggest meet the Miners will be in all season. A good showing could propel the Miners to a top 25 national ranking. The Miners are still looking for a national ranking, but coach Ereng believes that might change after the Miners compete in Fayetteville.

“After next week, we will know what will come out of that,” Ereng said. “It depends on the teams that we compete with, but I am looking forward to see some type of ranking.”

Regardless of a possible national ranking at the end of the week, coach Ereng has the men focused on bigger and better sights—winning conference and competing at the national level. 

“Our focus for the men is to win conference,” Ereng said. “Other than the conference, I am trying to see the men make it to the national meet this year.”

The Miners will head up to Arkansas on Saturday, Oct. 4, followed by the NCAA preliminaries, the C-USA Championships and, lastly, the NCAA championships in November.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]