Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate cross country runners Gilbert Kemboi and Joan Tangwar each won their respective races at the USC Upstate Invitational last weekend and have swept A-Sun Runner of the Week honors for the third time this season after both earned the honor this week, announced the conference Wednesday.
Kemboi and Tangwar, both from Eldoret, Kenya, won the Upstate Invitational at the Milliken Research Park last Saturday. Both claimed the titles against runners from eight other schools, including A-Sun member institutions ETSU, Mercer and North Florida. They also turned in their best times ever on the Milliken course which will also serve as the site for the 2010 A-Sun Championships on Oct. 30.
"Gilbert and Joan both had great races on Saturday and have both proven that they are at the top of the conference," said Upstate assistant coach Carson Blackwelder. "Gilbert had a strong solo effort just missing the course record by five seconds. Joan, along with Carolyne (Chelulei) and Jemeli (Sang), had a great group effort through 2.5 miles with Joan being able to pull away and finish strong."
Kemboi, a sophomore, won the men's 8k race with a time of 23:59.97. It was just five seconds off of the course record and 17 seconds faster than he ran in winning the Eye Opener meet earlier this season, also held at Milliken. He now has three wins and a third-place finish in four races this season. He dominated the field, taking the lead from the start and finishing 1:20 ahead of the second-place finisher in the race. His selection as A-Sun Runner of the Week is the third this season and the sixth of his career.
Tangwar, a junior, won the women's 5k race with a time of 17:34.56. She finished four seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in the race. Her time was an amazing 37 seconds faster than she ran in winning the Eye Opener on the same course earlier this year. She now has two individual wins in four races this season. Her selection as A-Sun Runner of the Week is her third of the season and career.
Kemboi and Tangwar will lead a contingent of Spartans into the A-Sun Championships at Milliken next weekend. The two have combined for five wins in four races this season and have swept the A-Sun weekly awards three times.