The cross country team heads home from Waco and the NCAA South Central Regional meet with two national qualifiers for the national meet, Irene Rono and Prudence Kiyeng.
Head coach Jarvis Jelen hoped the women’s team would have qualified, but he is glad that two runners got to advance.
“The women ran tough, we were in a battle to make it as a team,” Jelen said. “We were disappointed not to make it [as a team], but are thankful to get Irene and Prudence in the finals.”
Irene Rono, from Eldama Ravine, Kenya, and Prudence Kiyeng, from Eldoret, Kenya placed fourth and tenth place, with an overall place with the women’s team finishing in fifth place.
“They have been in the top ten in every race, so I’m excited for this chance for them,” Jelen said. “Now that it’s just those two we don’t have to hold them back for the team but focus up on them individually at nationals.”
As for the men’s team, they finished in a much lower ranking than the women’s team. They completed the meet finishing in 19th place, all while being led once again by Levi Chambers, who finished in 73rd place.
The future is bright for the ACU cross country team as Jelen said there has been consistency in the program and he believes the talent with the upcoming class will help continue that growth.
With Rono and Kiyeng qualifying for the national meet, it serves as a landmark for the program. In the five years, the Wildcats have been able to qualify for the national meet, they have now sent five runners to the meet, with the two runners serving as the fourth and fifth qualifiers.
Jelen is looking forward to Rono’s and Kiyeng’s opportunity to run at the national meet, and to also get to see how his two runners compare to the top cross country runners in the country.
“We get to see them with all the best runners in the country,” Jelen said, “and I think it will be really good for them and that they are going be ready for the challenge.”
Rono and Kiyeng will be competing in the NCAA National Championship in Tallahassee, Florida on Nov. 20.