Nov. 20, 2006
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -
The University of Wyoming cross country program took a giant step forward today as sophomore Mark Korir, a transfer from Moi University in Kenya, became the first All-American for UW in 11 years with his 22nd place time of (31:24.80) at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. The last Cowboy to earn All-American honors in cross country was Ryan Bolton in 1995.
The top 25 finishers at the NCAA Championships earn All-American status.
The 10,000 meter course, which was muddy and mostly wet due to rainy conditions that preceded the race, proved to be challenging for all of the 250 runners. Such conditions made the course tough, resulting in slower times across the board.
"It was muddy and boggy today, but Mark got out to a good start anyway and was able to stay in the top 16 to 20 for most of the race," said UW head cross country coach Randy Cole. "He [Korir] was only four seconds out of 15th place, which just goes to show how close these meets can be."
All season, Korir has proven that he had the ability to be an All-American. With four top five finishes heading into today's race, Korir's only heavy competition in the MWC came from BYU senior Josh Rohatinsky. Rohatinsky finished the race today as the 2006 NCAA Division-IA National Champion and was the only runner from the MWC to finish ahead of Korir.
In all there were nine runners from the Mountain Region who finished in the top 25, showing the tough competition in this part of the country.
"I think that it was a solid season by Mark," said Cole. "He had exciting races throughout the regular season and this just tops it all off. Today was a big step forward for our program and for Mark, individually."
Korir transferred to Wyoming in January of this year and began competing for the Cowboys during the outdoor track and field season as a sophomore. Immediately the coaching staff realized that he would be a huge addition to the program in the distance events.
"Mark is the best male athlete we have in our program," said head track and field coach Don Yentes. "Because of him, we've been able to attract better athletes and his performance today should help even more."
Since January, Korir has now earned All-MWC honors in both track and field, and cross country. He was a First Team All-MWC selection during the 2006 outdoor track and field season with his performance in the 5,000m run. Korir won the event with a time of (14:19.48) and earned a trip to the NCAA National Championships.
At the MWC Cross Country Championships this fall, Mark finished second behind Rohatinsky to earn his first All-MWC honors in cross country. He then traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the NCAA Mountain Region meet where he finished third with a time of (29:56.7) on the 10,000 meter course and was awarded All-Mountain Region honors.