Kipyego Tabbed USTFCCCA Female Athlete of the Year|
Nov. 21, 2006
LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech's NCAA Individual Champion Sally Kipyego has been named the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's female athlete of the year, as announced Tuesday. The announcement comes after Kipyego took an easy victory at the NCAA Championships on Monday in Terre Haute, Ind., to become Texas Tech's first individual cross country champion.
Kipyego earned All-America status after defeating Colorado's Jenny Barringer by 26.8 seconds with a clocking of 20:11.1 on a muddy 6k course. She led the Red Raider team to a sixth-place finish, as Tech defeated seven teams of higher rank in their first-ever national qualifying year. Paired with teammate Irene Kimaiyo, who finished in eighth to become an All-American, Tech was the only team to finish two runners in the top 10.
Rewinding on Kipyego's remarkable year, she burst onto the cross country scene for the Red Raiders with a win in her first race at Tech, the Red Raider Jackrabbit Open, which was held in Lubbock, Texas. The sophomore sensation ran a time of 15:55.31 in the three mile event, as she outran second place by 29.69 seconds.
In her second competition, Kipyego led the team to its second-consecutive victory with her own second-consecutive first-place finish. She ran a time of 16:11.82 at the Murray Keatinge Invitational's 5k event. Once again, she dominated the field by running 39.18 seconds faster than second place.
At the Chile Pepper Invitational, which proves to be one of the strongest regular season meets, Kipyego once again ran her race. She took the title with a blazing time of 19:29.3, marking her fastest 6k clocking in her career. She led her team to an overall finish of third and up the USTFCCCA polls.
As the competition grew tougher, Kipyego appeared to be growing stronger. At her next appearance, the Big 12 Championships, she ran to another first-place finish, but this time with her largest margin of victory - 44.18 seconds. The split marked the largest since the Big 12 started running 6,000 meters in 2001, and her time of 20:00.82 is the fastest as well.
The Mountain Regionals would become the next obstacle for Kipyego to conquer, and she did in uncomplicated fashion. She ran to her fifth-consecutive title in a time of 19:45.9, outrunning, yet again, strong competition by more than a half-minute - 44.1 seconds. Her dominating performance, combined with the astounding efforts of her six Red Raider teammates, led the Texas Tech squad to a second-place finish and the school's first automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
As one of the highly favored athletes running for the NCAA individual title, Kipyego stepped into the national meet ready to compete against the top team and individual harriers in the country. She jumped out to an early lead and remained convincing throughout the entire 6k course. Kipyego ran across the finish line and to the record books as Texas Tech's first NCAA cross country national champion. In conference history, the talented Kenya native becomes only the second Big 12 runner to trot her way to the title.
Along the way, Kipyego has earned her share of honors. She was twice named the Big 12 Female Runner of the Week and earned All-Big 12 and All-Mountain Region honors. Along with earning herself All-America accolades, Kipyego was named the Mountain Region and now the USTFCCCA Female Athlete of the Year.