By JOHN PITTS / NEMS Daily Journal
From school reports
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Ole Miss senior Barnabas Kirui won the third Southeastern Conference cross country championship of his career, helping the Rebel men to a fifth-place finish on Monday.
Kirui is the fourth runner in league history to claim three SEC cross country titles and is the only Ole Miss runner to win more than one. He raced to the 8K victory with a time of 23:52.07, beating Auburn’s Ben Cheruiyot by almost 10 seconds.
“It really felt good to win today because it’s my last SEC cross country race,” Kirui said. “I’m glad the race went like we planned. It gives me confidence going into regionals and nationals. I’m proud to have won the SEC three times.”
Kirui finished fourth at last year’s NCAA cross country championships, the highest ever finish by a Rebel.
The Ole Miss men had their best showing at the SEC Championships since finishing fifth in 1996. Martin Kirui, Barnabas’ younger brother, placed 14th with a time of 24:41.91, while Kipchirchir Kiptoo was 25th with a time of 25:03.66. Loren Newsom (59th, 26:31.20) and Tupelo freshman Max Holman (66th, 26:53.12) also scored for the Rebels.
Barnabas Kirui was named to the All-SEC first team, while Martin Kirui received second-team honors.
Kiptoo, who placed third among freshmen in Monday’s race, was tabbed to the SEC All-Freshman team.
“Barnabas ran a super race,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Walker said. “He and coach (Doug) Blackwell had a great race plan. On the third lap he broke the race open for a commanding victory against very good competition.”
The Arkansas men and Florida women were team champions.
Logan Waites led the Rebel women to their best showing since 1990. Waites turned in the highest SEC Championships finish ever by an Ole Miss woman with her 16th-place effort (21:27.71) in the 6K, helping the team finish ninth.
Mississippi State’s women finished fifth, led by Haley Greenwell (ninth overall, 21:16.71). The MSU men finished seventh, led by Adam Lenz (35th, 25:32.85).