TERRE HAUTE, Ind. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Emmanuel Kirwa (Kapsabet, Kenya) placed 47th out of 246 runners in his first NCAA National Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday afternoon.
"He did everything he needed to," Head Coach Bill Gautier said. "He got out early and ran out front. He was in the top 10 or so for the first two miles."
Kirwa just missed All-American honors, placing seven spots outside of the top 40. He was the fifth finisher from the South Region behind Region champ Ciaran O'Lionaird (30:14.0) of Florida State and fellow Seminole Michael Fout (30:20.9) and Carrison Kemei (30:36.5) as well as Alabama's Julius Bor (30:26.6) and placed ahead of the other four individual qualifiers out of the region with a time of 30:36.5 in the the 10-kilometer race.
"He was 33rd coming down the stretch," Gautier said. "He made a charge at the end. He ran his heart out and we're so proud of him."
Senior Samuel Chelanga of Liberty was the overall champion with a time of 29:22.2 followed by Arizona's Stephen Sambu in second with a time of 29:26.5. Luke Puskedra of Oregan placed third (29:38.0) and Leonard Korir of Iona was fifth with a time of 29:42.0).
Oklahoma State was the overall winner with a team score of 73 that included four top 10 finishers followed by South Region champion Florida State in second with 193 points. Wisconsin finished third with 223 points and Stanford, with two top-10 runners, finished fourth with 237 points.
"It was exciting and a great weekend," Gautier said. "There were a lot of Olympians and future Olympians here. Emmanuel had a great career, I just wish he had more."