OXFORD, Ala. – The Eastern Kentucky University cross country teams’ dominant seasons in the Ohio Valley Conference were legitimized on Friday as three Colonels came away with postseason honors from the league.
Senior Ann Eason was voted by head coaches as the Female Athlete of the Year for the third consecutive season, junior Amos Kosgey was voted the Male Athlete of the Year and freshman Ronald Korir was voted the Male Freshman of the Year at the league’s postseason awards banquet on Friday night, the eve of the OVC Championships.
Eason has recorded the fastest 5K (16:58.30 at the Bluegrass Invitational) and 6K (21:26.3 at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Invitational) times in the conference this season while leading the EKU women’s team to a No. 8 ranking the NCAA Southeast Region. Despite her dominance over the past few seasons, the All-American from Lexington will look to win her first individual OVC cross country title at Oxford Lake Park on Saturday. She placed ninth as a freshman, sixth as a sophomore and missed last year’s championship meet with an injury.
This marks the sixth consecutive year an EKU runner has been named the OVC Female Athlete of the Year.
Kosgey emerged on the scene this fall after missing last season with an injury. The 2012 Male Freshman of the Year – and brother of former EKU All-American Lydia Kosgei – has been the clear-cut No. 1 for an EKU men’s team that was ranked nationally for much of the season. He was named the OVC Male Runner of the Week every time he competed this season and his 8K time of 23:27.4 at the loaded Notre Dame Invitational earlier this month is fastest in the OVC so far this fall.
This is the 11th consecutive season an EKU runner has been named the OVC Male Athlete of the Year.
Korir has run in EKU’s top-five in every meet this season. The newcomer from Iten, Kenya notably clocked a 24:25.5 8K against a loaded field at the Notre Dame Invitational in early October. He is the fifth consecutive Colonel to be named the Male Freshman of the Year, joining current teammates Kosgey (2012) and sophomore Ambrose Maritim (2013).
Eastern Illinois’ Maria Baldwin was voted the conference’s Female Freshman of the Year.
Prior to the 2011 season the awards for the top honors in cross country were determined by placement at the OVC Championship but were changed to a vote in 2011. This year's OVC Championships will be held on Saturday, November 1 at Oxford Lake Park in Oxford, Ala. Following the race the awards for Athletes of the Championships, Coach of the Year and the All-OVC teams will be awarded.