Eastern Kentucky University’s redshirt freshman from Kigali, Rwanda, James Sugira has been voted the Ohio Valley Conference Male Cross Country Runner of the Year, the league announced at its postseason banquet on Friday night.
Lilian Ndorobo, meanwhile, was voted the OVC Co-Female Freshman of the Year.
Sugira made a big impact this season. He had a key victory at the Vanderbilt’s Commodore Classic on Sep. 15, clocking an 8K time of 24:08.2 and beating his nearest competitor by nearly 30 seconds.
Two weeks later, he ran in the lead pack at the loaded Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational, eventually taking fourth out of some of the top runners in the country with an 8K time of 23:22.3. On Oct. 12, he won Penn State’s National Open with a 5.2-mile time of 24:40.
An interesting note is that Sugira has been named OVC Male Runner of the Week every time he has competed this season. He has also recorded the fastest 8K time in the conference at 23:22.3.
His performances have led EKU to a nineteenth national ranking, heading into the postseason.
Sugira is currently listed at number seven in Flotrack’s national individual rankings.
Ndorobo, native of Nairobi, Kenya finished fifth on the team and 38 overall at the Greater Louisville Classic on Sep. 29 with a 5K time of 17:44.9.
On Oct. 12, she finished third on the team at Penn State’s National Open with a 6K time of 21:43. That is the sixth-fastest 6K time in the conference this season.
The EKU women’s team is ranked third in the NCAA Southeast Region rankings.
“She is the fifth EKU woman to be named OVC Cross Country Freshman of the Year. Her teammate, Lilian Jeptoo Kiborus, earned the honor in 2016,” Steve Fohl, associate director of communications, said in a press release.
Congratulations to both runners on the accomplishments.