Garden City, KS – Five different runners held leads across six splits, but it was Hutchinson’s (KS) Andrew Kibet who came away with the 2018 NJCAA DI Men’s Cross Country National Championship on Saturday at the Buffalo Dunes Golf Course. Central Arizona was crowned the overall team national champion.
With three runners separated by less than a second at the four-mile mark, Kibet made a late kick to move up from third place to claim the program’s first-ever individual national championship with a time of 25:25.36.
Despite not having a top-10 finisher, Central Arizona relied on the team’s consistent pace to claim the program's eighth overall national championship and second in three years. The Vaqueros also set an NJCAA record with its seven DI championship, all coming since 2002.
- After crossing the first mile marker in ninth place, Kibet made ground and jumped to second after two miles. The freshman outlasted the field down the stretch for the title.
- Central Arizona was led by Ikageng Gaorekwe’s 11th place finish at 26:18.41. Santiago Hardy (16), Manuel Olivo-Quinones (19), Aaron Orar (25), and John Ngaruiya (29) all scored for the Vaqueros in a span of just 57 seconds while Davonte Jeff-Reynolds boasted an impressive 32nd place finish.
- Iowa Central, the 2017 champion, finished second overall, led by Ezekiel Kipchirchir’s third-place finish. Kipchirchir finished second overall at the 2017 championship.
- Seven different programs were represented in the top-10 individual finishers, including Cloud County (KS), South Plains (TX), and Louisburg (NC).
- In a highly-competitive race, the 100 team points for Central Arizona are the most for a DI national champion since Lansing scored 111 in 2007.
- Central Arizona and Iowa Central have finished first or second in each of the last six national championships with each side claiming three titles. Decided by just 18 points, the 2018 race was the fourth-closest finish between the two programs.
- El Paso placed three runners inside the top-10, led by Dennis Kiptoo’s fifth-place performance for the program’s best team finish since 2011.
- Colby’s Nehemiah Too finished as the individual runner-up with a time of 25:32.06. Too was joined by teammate Emmanuel Kipngetich who finished 10th overall.
- 289 individual runners took to the course on Saturday while 36 programs placed in the team standings.
- Iowa Central took home the 2018 DI Women’s Cross Country National Championship.