EL PASO – UTEP’s Risper Kimaiyo and Elkana Rotich have been selected as the 2010 Conference USA Cross Country Athletes of the Year the league announced Wednesday.
“The honors are an indication of excellence in both our men’s and women’s programs,” head coach Paul Ereng. “Risper and Elkana were dedicated and they performed well throughout the season. Their efforts were rewarded. I thank all the Conference USA coaches for giving credit where it is due.”
The sweep marks the third time in conference history that one school is awarded both the female and male athlete of the year awards as voted by the league’s head coaches. The honor is Kimaiyo’s second consecutive of her career and Rotich’s first.
Kimaiyo wrapped up the 2010 campaign earning her second-straight cross country All-America honor after finishing fourth at the 2010 NCAA Championships. Prior to nationals, the sophomore won the 2010 Mountain Regional and repeated as the C-USA Championship medalist. She became the first Miner to capture a Mountain Region individual title and earn USTFCCCA Regional Athlete of the Year honors. A two-time All-C-USA first team selection, she won six of eight races she competed in this year, including the Pre National Invitational. The Kenya native was named C-USA Athlete of the Week three times this season and owns seven career weekly honors. Kimaiyo is the only female runner from UTEP to win C-USA's top cross country award.
Rotich concluded the 2010 season earning the second USTFCCCA All-Mountain Region honor of his career. The sophomore also won his first Conference USA individual title with a personal-best time of 23:30, earning All-C-USA first team. He was the top finisher for the Miners in four of seven races ran this season. The Kenya native has earned a pair C-USA Athlete of the Week awards. Rotich is the second UTEP runner to win C-USA's top cross country award. The Miners have won four of the six yearly honors since joining the league in 2005.
TCU (2001) and Tulane (1998) also swept the men's and women's C-USA Cross Country Athletes of the Year award.