Antony Kimaiyo, Oraine Wint and Leah Gaytan all received individual Sooner Athletic Conference Runner of the Week awards throughout these first four meets. With both teams placing third or better in every competition so far, the program has hit its stride.
“Our team is doing really well. Both offseason and in season,” Kimaiyo said. “We’ve had new freshman who have really pushed the limit of our endurance along with an outstanding coach who has been keeping us in the right direction.”
The women’s team began the season ranked No. 24 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ coaches’ poll, the only SAC team to receive a ranking, according to ramsports.net.
So far the men have finished first or second three times, and the women have come in third twice and first once, according to ramsports.net.
Kimaiyo also said that right now the program is very much under the radar.
“We haven’t really shown anything in the big meets that make us feel like we’ve already made it to the top,” Kimaiyo said. “ We are always improving ourselves.”
Incoming freshmen, Kimaiyo added, are big assets to the program and have been welcomed with open arms.
“We do have two freshman who just came in and are putting a large chunk of their talent into the success of the team,” Kimaiyo said. “To have young teammates challenging their already experienced teammates, it really makes the team stronger.”
Kimaiyo said that even though training has been tough, classes still remain the number one priority.
“The main goal for the season, I will say, is to have all our teammates do well in class since we are students first,” Kimaiyo said. “The second would be to perform athletically the best we can.”
Marisol Lopez, a runner for the women’s cross country team, said she is very happy with how her team has moved along.
“We won our first race last week and we are ranked top 20 nationally,” Lopez said. “The team is doing really great.”
Lopez also said that there have been several standout runners this season, including Gaytan and Stephanie Quintero, who are contributing immensely to the goals for the season.
“Our goals for this season are to work hard, keeping the rankings up, win our conference and qualify for nationals.” Lopez said.
The teams travel to Arkansas this Saturday for the Chile Pepper Festival. They will be going to North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Kansas in October.