2005 Cross Country Review
Dec. 7, 2005
Under new head coach Jon Murray, the Texas Tech cross country teams experienced new levels of success during the 2005 season. The program had three athletes, Kevin Chelimo, Violet Chemakwila and Irene Kimaiyo, qualify for the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., while Chelimo earned the Red Raiders' first postseason honor when he was named the men's Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
The teams opened the season with first-place efforts at the Texas Tech Invitational held at Mae Simmons Park. In the women's 5K race, Tech occupied places second through eighth with Chemakwila leading the pack with a second-place finish in 17:21.29. She was followed by Kimaiyo (17:41.03), Katie Leonard (18:34.80), Asia Diaz (18:37.32), Jessica Stovall (19:08.14), Molly Evans (19:25.55) and Kayla Kenoyer (19:33.91). For the men, Chelimo and Benson Cheserek finished 1-2 in times of 19:03.03 and 19:29.44, respectively, in the men's 6K race. The Red Raider men claimed seven of the top 10 spots and placed nine in the top 15.
Tech cross country, then, competed in the Lobo Invitational on the campus of the University of New Mexico. The women finished fifth in the 6K race, while the men's team came away with a sixth-place finish in the 8K. Chemakwila was Tech's top women's finisher in a time of 22:12, which placed her third. Kimaiyo and Diaz rounded out Tech's top three with 14th- and 26th-place finishes, respectively. On men's side, Chelimo ran to a 10th-place finish in a time of 25:19. Cheserek finished 14th in a time of 25:45, while Pedro Vargas was Tech's third finisher with an effort of 27:35, good enough for 46th place.
Next for the Red Raider harriers was a trip to the Stanford Invitational, where the teams competed in three races. The women competed in the 6K race and produced an 11th-place finish. The men's team ran in the 4K and 8K races with third- and 11th-place results, respectively. In the women's 6K, Chemakwila was Tech's top finisher with a time of 21:22, which placed her in fourth. Kimaiyo finished eighth in 21:46, and Stovall clocked in at 23:16 and a 58th-place finish. In the 11-team 4K race, Haron Lagat paced the Tech men with a 14th-place finish in 12:46. Orey Smith and David Boston were Tech's next two finishers, both within 10 seconds of Lagat. Smith ran 12:50 (17th place) and Boston finished in 12:56 (23rd). In the men's 8K, which had 130 runners, Chelimo finished fourth in a time 23:40.
The next meet for the cross country team was the Chile Pepper Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. Kimaiyo paced the Tech women to a seventh-place finish in the 6K race with her third-place finish in 20:41.2. Chemakwila finished seventh overall and earned a cumulative finish of 10th. Stovall was the next finisher for Tech with an overall place of 58th in a time of 22:24.6, good enough for a 68th-place cumulative finish. The men's team finished in 10th place in the 10K and was led by Chelimo, who finished with an overall and cumulative place of seventh in a time of 28:55.3. Cheserek ran 30:35.7 to earn an overall place of 33rd, and a cumulative finish of 40th. Kyle Atwood was Tech's third finisher with a 71st overall finish, 111th cumulative placing and a time of 31:49.9.
Up next for the Red Raiders was the 2005 Big 12 Cross Country Championships in Waco, Texas. The Tech women came away with a sixth-place finish, and the men's team was ninth. The women were led by Chemakwila who finished third in a time of 20:39; her third-place finish was the top female Big 12 performance in program history. Kimaiyo claimed another top-10 position for the team with her 10th-place finish in a time of 21:13. Stovall was Tech's third finisher with a 31st-place finish in a time of 22:15. In the men's race, Chelimo earned Tech's best male finish in Big 12 cross country history with a fourth-place finish in a time of 23:56. Cheserek finished with a 37th-place effort with a time of 25:20. Smith rounded out the Red Raider top three by clocking in at 26:23, which was good for 64th place. Chelimo, Chemakwila and Kimaiyo earned all-conference honors for their performances.
The teams followed the conference meet with the NCAA Mountain Regional Championships in Provo, Utah. The women's team claimed eighth place, and the men finished in 13th. Kimaiyo was the top finisher for the Red Raiders with a sixth-place finish in a time of 21:21.1 in the 6K race. Her time automatically qualified her for the NCAA Championships. Chemakwila was 13th with a time of 21:45.6; she received an at-large bid into the Championships as a result of her performance. Stovall clocked in at 22:53.6 to finish in 42nd place. Chelimo paced the men with a sixth-place finish and a National meet qualifying time of 30:48.4 in the 10K race. Cheserek was Tech's second finisher at 46th-place in a time of 32:29.1. Vargas clocked in at 34:01.9 for 84th to round out the top three Tech finishers.
At the NCAA Championships, Texas Tech was represented for the first time since 1999 when Leigh Daniels competed for the Red Raiders. Chelimo ran 30:21.4 in the men's 10K race to finish 38th in a field of 253. Chemakwila finished in 44th place (of 253 runners) in a time of 20:36.6. Kimaiyo finished in 200th place after clocking in at 22:06.4.