Cheruiyot Places 66th at NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship



Sophomore Pasca Cheruiyot placed 66th in today’s NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, Ind.  Her time of 20:56.70 in the 6K race is the fifth fastest at that distance in Missouri State school history.  The overall winner was Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego, a former classmate of Cheruiyot’s in secondary school in Kenya.  Cheruiyot was the first Bear runner to go to nationals since Casey Owens finished 64th at the 2004 NCAA Championship.

“She raced aggressively and that is a dangerous strategy at this level,” said Head Coach Greg Hipp after the race.  Cheruiyot was in third place at the mile mark of today’s race.  She remained in the top-20 at the 4K mark and the top-30 at the 5K mark, but was overtaken by a number of runners in the last kilometer.  “She is a phenomenal runner and has set herself out as a top runner in the country.  With time and experience, she will get to where we know she can be.”

Cheruiyot’s first season at Missouri State not only saw her qualify for nationals, but put her in the record books.  She set the school record in the 5K and 6K and she ran four of the five fastest 6K times in school history.  She became the first Bear to win the Missouri Valley Conference Championship and Missouri State Classic in the same season and the first overall winner of the conference title for Missouri State since Casey Owens in 2004.

Cheruiyot will now set her sights on the track and field season, which the Bears begin on January 9, 2009, at the Arkansas Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.



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