Tulane’s Rotich named American Athletic Conference Runner of the Year

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NEW ORLEANS — Junior Emmanuel Rotich was named the 2017 American Athletic Conference Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Year, the conference office announced Tuesday. The award was voted on by the conference’s cross country head coaches.

“Emmanuel is going to be very pleased to know that the other coaches in this league respect his accomplishments this year and the fact that he was able to win the conference championship, as well as represent our conference well at regionals and nationals,” director of cross country and track & field Eric Peterson said. “I’m obviously very proud of the things that he did and accomplished this past season, and I’m very much looking forward to what he’s going to be able to accomplish in the future. This is a well-deserved honor, and I know it’s one that he’s going to cherish.”

Rotich’s remarkable cross country season included winning five consecutive meets, beginning at the Temple Invitational (Sept. 1 in Philadelphia), where he won the men’s 8k race with a time of 26:00.6. From there, Rotich proceeded to win the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational (Sept. 29 in South Bend, Ind.), the Pre-National Invitational (Oct. 14 in Louisville, Ky.), The American Championships (Oct. 28 in Philadelphia) and the NCAA South Central Regional Championships (Nov. 10 in College Station, Texas).

Rotich punched his ticket to the 2017 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships by winning the South Central Regional, claiming first place in the men’s 10k with a time of 29:49.1 to qualify for the championship. Rotich maintained a pace of 4:47 per mile, setting a new personal best and school record in the 10k and breaking the 10k course record at Texas A&M’s Watts Cross Country Course in the process. His gold medal-winning performance to defend his title at the South Central Regional earned him the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) South Central Region Athlete of the Year award.

At the NCAA Championships. Rotich, now a two-time NCAA All-Region and All-Conference recipient, finished 191st (31:30.47) in the men’s 10k race to conclude his historic season of running.

“From coaching standpoint, what you hope for from all of your athletes is progression – that they’re going to get better year after year,” Peterson said. “It’s not all that common for an athlete to improve at the same rate that Emmanuel has over the past three cross country seasons. He’s continued to get better, apply himself to his training and work hard. He holds himself to a high standard, and all of that has helped him become a conference champion. Now, he’s going to look beyond that and try to succeed at an even higher level moving forward. He certainly has the commitment, work ethic and the drive to achieve those things.”

Fans can follow along for updates and news on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or find the team on Facebook. Follow Tulane Athletics on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and @TulaneAthletics on Snapchat.

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