Rotich, Kimaiyo dominate in first race
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
The UTEP cross country team opened up their 2012 season on the right foot, as freshman men’s runner Anthony Rotich and senior Risper Kimaiyo for the women’s took first on Sept. 7 at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational.
Rotich finished with a time of 14 minutes, 37.81 seconds in his first cross country race as a Miner. Freshman Elphas Maiyo placed second for the men with a time of 15:09.80, while men’s senior Elkana Rotich took third with a time of 15:26.48 helping the men’s team finish on top with 29 points.
“This is my last cross country season. I am the only senior on the team and I need to show those guys how to compete,” Elkana said. “I am looking forward to winning the conference.”
On the women’s side, All-American senior Risper Kimaiyo claimed her fourth consecutive crown in four years at the course, as the women’s squad finished second overall with 49 points. Senior Karina Garcia finished second in the 5-kilometer race with a time of 18:48.42.
“Right now I feel my conditioning is okay. I am getting were I am supposed to be. I twisted my ankle like two weeks ago but right now I am feeling much better. I am not really 100 percent but I am almost there,” Kimaiyo said prior to the event. “I think Friday’s meet will let me know where I am and what I need to improve on.”
Kimaiyo seems to be on the right track to reach her senior goal.
“I am looking forward to go to nationals since this is my senior year and I have yet to miss nationals in my previous years,” Kimaiyo said.
Head coach Paul Ereng is hoping that the outcome will turn out differently than last season if Kimaiyo makes nationals this year.
“Risper ran last year and she was an All-American but she didn’t perform the way she wanted so hopefully this year it is going to be better. She has a very demanding program academically because of the nursing major she is carrying,” Ereng said. “Some of her classes are from 6 a.m to 5 p.m. So she does a lot of studying but she had a very good summer training.”
Her nursing major takes up most of her training time with the team but she still manages to stay in All-American shape.
“It is really challenging going to class and clinicals. It is really demanding and yet I have to train by myself and the only time I get to train with the team is when I get out of class early,” Kimaiyo said.
Ereng added that he would like to see the entire team reach nationals this season.
When speaking to Ereng he said that the altitude here at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational would have little effect in their success.
“I don’t think we have too much advantage than other schools in the mountain regions like BYU, UNM (University of New Mexico), Colorado and Colorado State because they are at very high altitudes. We are actually the minimum of these altitude schools (1,140 meters above sea level) which is not too much,” Ereng said. “Usually the advantage of high altitude is that you carry more red blood cells in your body and it gives you the ability to carry more oxygen.”
The Miners next meet will be at the Kachina Classic Sept. 14 in Las Cruces.
Frankie Rodriguez may be reached at email@example.com.