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TAMUC – Sports

Rotich claims runner-up honors; Lions place eighth at National Invitational Meet.

LUBBOCK – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s cross country team wrapped up its 2020 season with an eighth-place finish at the Division II National Invitational hosted by Lubbock Christian on Saturday morning. 

Lone Star Conference Runner and Freshman of the Year Nicodemus Rotich (Eldoret, Kenya) led the Lions. He is the race runner-up with a time of 31:52.9, running his first collegiate 10-kilometer race. 

Rotich was runner-up to Colorado Mesa’s Tony Torres, who won at 31:37.7. Rotich’s two points in the team standings powered the Lions to an admirable finish.

“This was a historic day for our program with the first trip to a national championship level race as a team,” said Lion cross country coach Trent Phelps. “This was the first 10-kilometer cross country race for a lot of our runners. They were able to go from the eighth-best team in the Lone Star Conference to the eighth-best team in the nation in one year, and I’m excited to see the progress we can make in another year.

Nicodemus Rotich was able to lead our team once again, and he showed that he has the ability to win a national title. There is a lot more work to do in the indoor and outdoor season, but I’m confident this team will rise to the occasion.”  

Timon Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) placed 37th in the race at 33:35.4, and LSC All-Academic performer Tanner Townsend (Royse City) ranked 60th at 34:15.9. 

Oscar Leyva (Sherman) placed 70th at 35:01.9, Cooper Miller (Big Spring) was 77th at 35:25.6, and Marshall Pate (Kaufman) finished 81st at 36:19.8. 

They created the 2020 Division II Cross Country National Invite this year to fill the gap left by the NCAA canceling championships for fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifiers for the event included teams that finished in the top 40 percent of the teams that competed at their conference championship, along with the top individuals not on a qualifying team.

TEAM STANDINGS

  1. Alabama-Huntsville, 46
  2. Colorado Mesa, 77*
  3. West Texas A&M, 77
  4. Fort Lewis, 123
  5. Nebraska-Kearney, 147
  6. Oklahoma Christian, 153
  7. UT Tyler, 205
  8. A&M-COMMERCE, 209
  9. Washburn, 210
  10. Western New Mexico, 221
  11. Dallas Baptist, 242