LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech senior distance runner Kennedy Kithuka is set to chase down his second-straight national title Saturday when he competes at the 2013 NCAA Championship meet in Terre Haute, Ind.
Kithuka, who is unbeaten in 14-straight races during his remarkable career, will compete in the 10,000-meter race beginning at 11 a.m. (CT) at the LaVern Golf Course in Terre Haute. The Thika Kenya native enters the meet fresh off a win at the NCAA Mountain Regional meet where he cruised past the field finishing with a time of 29 minutes 23.6 seconds - a full 16 seconds ahead of the closest competitor.
He was later named the Mountain Region Male Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Kithuka will return to the course where he won the NCAA Pre-National meet in October finishing with a time of 22:52.78 in the 8,000-meter race.
On Saturday, he will look to become the first male athlete to win back-to-back NCAA Cross Country Championships since 2010 and just the 10th all-time.
KENNEDY KITHUKA – A CLOSER LOOK
· Kithuka is unbeaten in his Texas Tech career with a current streak of 14 victories in 14-straight races dating back to his 2012 NCAA Cross Country debut.
· With a win at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championship, Texas Tech would become the first school in NCAA history to boast back-to-back men’s and women’s individual cross country champions. Former Lady Raider Sally Kipyego won three-straight women’s NCAA Cross Country Championships from 2006-08.
· Kithuka will look to become the first men’s back-to-back NCAA Cross Country Champion since 2010 and the first-ever from the Big 12 Conference. Only nine athletes in men’s NCAA Cross Country Championship history (beginning in 1938) have won back-to-back individual titles – while only six have done so at the 10k distance.
· Kithuka has won seven straight races in the 2013 season by an average margin of victory of 36 seconds.
· Kithuka became the first athlete to win back-to-back Big 12 Cross Country titles since 2005 with a victory at the conference meet on Nov. 2.
· Kithuka won the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championship with a time of 28:31.3 – the fastest 10k time at an NCAA Championship in more than 30 years – (1979 – Henry Rono of Washington State at 28:19.6 in Bethlehem, Pa.)