November 16, 2012

Kemboi Set to Represent Spartans on National Stage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Katie Parker, kparker@uscupstate.edu

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) of the USC Upstate men's cross country team will compete as an individual at the NCAA National Championship Saturday in Louisville, Ky., after placing sixth at the Southeast Regional last week.

With Kemboi's sixth-place finish at Regionals Nov. 9, he qualified for Nationals, becoming the first athlete in Upstate's Division I era across all sports to advance to an NCAA Championship event. The NCAA Men's Cross Country Championship begins Saturday at 1:15 p.m. Fans can watch the event live on the NCAA website here.

"We are very excited to have Gilbert competing at the national championships," said Upstate Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder. "His work ethic and drive have led him to this opportunity to compete against the best in the country."

At the Southeast Regionals, the senior crossed the line 10K with a school-record and personal-best time of 29:47.31 as the first Upstate finisher. Kemboi led the Spartan men to 15th-place in the team standings at the region meet, marking the best finish for Upstate in program history. Last year, the Spartans earned 22nd as a team, while Kemboi garnered All-Regional accolades after finishing 11th.

"This will be the biggest challenge that Gilbert has faced and we know he is ready to push his limit and run with the best," Blackwelder said.

He has been a contestant leader for the Spartans all season, helping them to their second-straight Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, while claiming his third consecutive individual A-Sun title. Kemboi was also named the 2012 A-Sun Scholar Athlete of the Year, an honor he won as a junior as well.   

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