Kirui, Kemboi Earn All-American Honors At XC Nationals
Wesley Kirui led the GNAC with his 29th place finish in a time of 30:33. Photo by Craig Craker.
Wesley Kirui led the GNAC with his 29th place finish in a time of 30:33. Photo by Craig Craker.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

SACRAMENTO – The dry, fast conditions were prime for Alaska Anchorage juniors Wesley Kirui and Felix Kemboi to earn All-American trophies as the duo led the GNAC at the NCAA Division II Men’s Cross Country Championships at the Aracade Creek Cross Country Course.

Both individual qualifiers to the national meet, Kirui moved ahead of his teammates over the final 3,000 meters to finish in 29th place, covering the 10,000 meters in 30:33. With the finish, Kirui collected his second Division II cross country All-America trophy. He was ninth place last year, but overcame injuries in October to be ready for the championship portion of the season. Kemboi, the GNAC champion in October, earned his first All-American trophy as he placed 37th in a time of 30:39.

Both runners saw marked improvement over the muddy and cold course in Pittsburgh a year ago. Kirui was over two minutes faster than his finish a year while Kemboi was 2 minutes, 13 seconds faster.

Western Washington, the only team from the GNAC to qualify for the national meet, placed 22nd with a score of 511 points. The Vikings moved up four places from a year ago as they qualified for the meet in back-to-back years for the first time since 2013 and 2014.

Junior Edward Kiolbasa led the way for Western Washington, placing 69th in a time of 31:12.7. Freshman Deyago Peraza was the team’s other top-100 finisher, crossing in 87th place with a time of 31:27.1.

Northwest Nazarene sophomore Tyler Shea, who joined Kirui and Kemboi as individual qualifiers from the West Region, placed 101st in a time of 31:37.0.

Colorado Mines won the team title with a score of 57 points, placing three runners in the top-40. Freshman Ezra Mutai of American International was the individual winner, surging over the final mile to take the title in a time of 29:31.2.

At Arcade Creek Cross Country Course, Sacramento, Calif.
Team Scores (10,000m):
1, Colorado Mines, 57. 2, Adams State, 156. 3, Chico State, 143. 4, Grand Valley St., 177. 5, NW Missouri St., 206. 22, Western Washington, 511.

Top 5 Finishers: 1, Ezra Mutai, AIU, 29:31.2. 2, Kale Adams, ASC, 29:43.9. 3, Taylor Stack, WCU, 29:47.6. 4, Kyle Moran, CSM, 29:49.9. 5, Gidieon Kimutai, MSU, 29:49.9.

All-Americans (Top-40): 29, Wesley Kirui, UAA, 30:33.0. 37, Felix Kemboi, UAA, 30:39.0.

Other GNAC Finishers: 69, Edward Kiolbasa, WWU, 31:12.7. 87, Deyago Peraza, WWU, 31:27.1. 101, Tyler Shea, NNU, 31:37.0. 117, James Jasperson, WWU, 31:43.4. 128, Eric Hamel, WWU, 31:50.6. 197, Liam Cossette, WWU, 32:38.9. 202, Macauley Franks, WWU, 32:41.6. 242, Colton Hoggarth, WWU, 33:46.4.