Oct. 6, 2009
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - New Mexico senior Jacob Kirwa has been selected as the Mountain West Conference Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week the conference office announced this afternoon. Kirwa was recognized for the second time in his career, joining former All-Americans Matt Gonzales and Jeremy Johnson as the only UNM men to earn multiple MWC Athlete of the Week awards.
Kirwa won his second consecutive race on Oct. 2 to lead the 24th-ranked Lobos to a fourth place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The Eldoret, Kenya native sprinted past Arizona State All-American Brandon Bethke down the final stretch as New Mexico defeated four top-30 teams in the men's blue race, including No. 11 Tulsa.
Kirwa finished the 8K course in 23:44.00, clocking the fastest time by a Lobo since Johnson's program record time of 23:27.00 set in 2007. His victory was the first by a New Mexico runner in a road meet since 2004 when Gonzales won the NCAA Mountain Region title in Fort Collins, Colo.
New Mexico has had at least one runner earn MWC Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week accolades each year since 2004. Kirwa was the lone UNM men's winner last fall following his early September performance at the Lobo Invitational.
The UNM men and women will send a split squad down to Elephant Butte, N.M. on Saturday evening for the Duel In the Desert against New Mexico State. The full teams will return to competition on Oct. 17 at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind.