By Jared Fields, Editor in Chief
After a weekend in Pennsylvania for the Penn Relays Carnival, it was an individual that made the biggest news for the Wildcat track and field team.
Junior Daniel Maina won the steeplechase with a time of 8:40.46, turning in the top time in NCAA Division II and the second fasted collegiate time this year.
“He got in a little pack and cruised along with them; then with two laps to go he put the hammer down, and they couldn’t go with him,” said head coach Don Hood.
After the race, Hood told Maina, “That hard work’s paying off.”
Maina said to Hood, “Oh, I’ve got more.”
Maina said the lead pack slowed with about four laps to go. Instead of maintaining his pace and breaking away, Maina stayed with the pack until distance coach Derek Hood told him to “go” with about two laps remaining.
Maina is also qualified for next month’s outdoor championships in the 800-meters and 1,500-meters. However, Maina will run the 800-meters and steeplechase at the outdoor championships because of the schedule of the events at the meet.
Other distance runners qualified this weekend. In the 10,000-meters, four of the men qualified for outdoors. Cleophas Tanui placed fourth with a time of 29:41.73, which was an automatic qualifying mark.
The other three, Serge Gasore, Nic Kazingo and Amos Sang, posted provisional times of 29:47.78, 30:01.60 and 30:09.87, respectively.
“Cleophas, that was his breakout race,” Don Hood said. “I think all four will get in (to the national meet). I think we’ll have them all in the 5k also.”
Hood said the boost of having a national champion crosscountry team run the distance events is indescribable.
“It makes things a whole lot easier for everybody,” Hood said. “It shows what a great job Derek does getting them ready for outdoors.”
Davy Manga, who was already automatically qualified in the triple jump, bettered his mark with a jump of 53-6.25, the best in Division II this year.
For the women’s team, Loice Cheboi automatically qualified in the steeplechase with a time of 10:53.60.
Winrose Karunde automatically qualified in the 10,000 meters with the second-best time in Division II of 35:03.73.
“Winrose went out harder than she should have,” Hood said. “It hurt her. It was a hard, hard run but she didn’t just crater; she held on really well.”