Kithuka Repeats as Big 12 Champion|
Tech senior Kennedy Kithuka won his second-straight Big 12 Cross Country title Saturday in Waco.
Nov. 2, 2013
WACO, Texas - Kennedy Kithuka did it once again.
The undefeated Texas Tech senior blew past the field Saturday morning in Waco en route to his second Big 12 Cross Country title in as many seasons. The unblemished defending national champion bested his meet record performance from 2012 by more than 30 seconds clocking a time of 22:16.0 in yet another dominant performance at the conference meet.
Kithuka finished 37 seconds ahead of second place finisher Kirubel Erassa of Oklahoma State while pacing the Red Raiders to a program-best fifth place finish at the meet. The squad finished with 117 points. The Lady Raiders went on to finish eighth in the team standings with 173 points.
"It was a great effort by both the men and women today," Texas Tech head coach Jon Murray said. "Our All-Conference runners did a good job leading the team. I am proud of Kennedy for repeating as champion. It takes a special person to keep the excellence that he has established."
Oklahoma State won the men's race with 33 points while Iowa State took the women's team title with 35 points.
With the victory, Kithuka remains unbeaten in his Texas Tech cross country career and becomes the first Big 12 men's athlete to win back-to-back conference titles since Benson Chesang of Kansas in 2005.
Kithuka opened a five second lead over Erassa in the first 1,000-meters and went on to build a 30-second lead after the 5,000-meter mark. He finished with a 4:29 mile pace.
Kithuka was followed by teammate Ezekiel Kissorio who finished 10th overall with a career-best time of 23:35.4. Kissorio and Kithuka both earned All-Big 12 honors as the pair finished in the top-15 overall.
The Lady Raiders were paced by junior Sharlene Nickle who crossed the finish line 13th overall with a season-best time of 21:07. Nickle earns All-Big 12 honors with the performance.Texas Tech now eyes the NCAA Mountain Region Championship meet scheduled for Nov. 15 in Ogden, Utah.