Nov. 24, 2008
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -
The combination of cold weather and rolling hills were too much for Mark Korir from Eldoret, Kenya to overcome in his bid to become the first three-time All-American in University of Wyoming cross country history today in Terre Haute, Ind., at the NCAA Championships.
At the second mile of the 6.2 mile (10k) course, Korir was cruising along with the lead group. When they entered a decline at the Indiana State University course Korir's back started to tighten up on him. That's when the lead pack began to pull away from not only Korir, but from the rest of the field.
With the top-40 individuals crossing the line automatically named All-American, Korir was left off that list for the first time in his career with his 71st-place finish and time of 30:38.
It was a two-man race from the get-go with sophomore Samuel Chelanga from Liberty and senior Galen Rupp from the University of Oregon. Chelanga sprinted out from the start and Rupp had to play catch up, he caught him about half way through the race and ran with him the rest of the way. Neither of them made their move to pull away until the last 400-meters. They came down the home stretch and that's when Rupp led for the first time in the 10k race. He crossed the line with a time of 29:03, five seconds in front of Chelanga.
It was Rupp's first national championship as he led the Oregon men to their second-straight team championship in as many years. As for the women, the individual championship went to Sally Kipyego from Texas Tech who won her third-straight title. The team title went to the University of Washington for their first team championship in school history.
Korir, the two-time All-American and reigning Conference Champion who was also named to the Mountain West Conference 10th Anniversary Cross Country Team, ended his cross country career with a sour taste in his mouth.
"Mark has had an incredible career here at UW and he will be sorely missed on the cross country course," said UW head coach Randy Cole. "It just wasn't his day with his back locking up on him but he still gave everything he had and I am very proud of him for that.
"There are some great runners here and unfortunately Mark was unable to keep up with them. He will have some time to recover before the start of the indoor track and field season and I expect him to be full strength and continue to reek havoc on the conference soon," finished Cole.
Up next for the Cowboy and Cowgirl Track & Field team will be the Wyoming Open Power Meet Dec. 6, at the War Memorial Fieldhouse.