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Runners of the Week - No. 7

October 31, 2011
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -Kennedy Kithuka of Wayland Baptist (Texas) has been named NAIA National Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week and Grand View’s (Iowa) Obsie Birru has been tabbed NAIA National Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week, the national office announced Wednesday. The final honorees of the 2011 season were selected based on their performances from Oct. 17 – 23 and were chosen out of a pool of conference/independent/unaffiliated group runners of the week selections.

Kithuka ran a season-best 8K time of 23:17.02 en route to the individual title at the Mid-States Classic hosted by Southwestern (Kan.) on Oct. 22. Not only was the Nairobi, Kenya, native’s time the best of his sophomore campaign, but it broke the course record and he won the event for the second-straight year. The defending NAIA men’s cross country national champion finished 50 seconds ahead of teammate and runner-up Edward Taragon. The 10th-ranked Pioneers placed third as a team with 105 points.

Running at the same event, Birru broke Grand View’s 5K record and established a personal-best 17:30.24 to capture top honors. The senior crossed the finish line 39 seconds ahead of Baker’s (Kan.) Lauren Jaqua. Behind the Des Moines, Iowa native’s efforts, the Vikings took home fifth place as a team with 135 points. The combined time between the five Grand View runners of 1:36.13 also set a new school record.

Men’s Nominees: Mitchell Dale, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Yonas Mebrahtu, Graceland (Iowa); Jairus Kipkemoi, Wiley (Texas); Thomas Zunie, Haskell (Kan.); Jimmy Oribo, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho); Ben Sievert, Concordia (Neb.); Kwame Jackson, Xavier (La.); Frank Adelman, Southwestern (Kan.); Dusty Prescott, Davenport (Mich.); Galen Dills, Shawnee State (Ohio); Ryan Meyer, William Woods (Mo.); Mike Miroux, Mount Mercy (Iowa); James Johnstone, Southern Oregon; Evans Kirwa, Embry-Riddle (Fla.); Mike Wallker, Lee (Tenn.); Andrew Albert, Indiana Wesleyan; Austin Ellis, Milligan (Tenn.); Alex Bett, Union (Tenn.); John Gilbertson, The Master's (Calif.); Cameron Barela, Vanguard (Calif.).

Women’s Nominees: Lyndsay Payne, Siena Heights (Mich.); Melanie Novack, SCAD Savannah (Ga.); Lauren Jaqua, Baker (Kan.); Jessica Davis, Texas Wesleyan; Sophie Bush, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho); Sarah Kortze, Concordia (Neb.); Jordan Arnold, Friends (Kan.); Madey Hornung, Jamestown (N.D.); Zahri Jackson, Xavier (La.); Karlee Coffey, Eastern Oregon; Sharon Ronoh, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Maggie Opelt, Lee (Tenn.); Brenda Felipe, Rogers State (Okla.); Allissa Peterson, Indiana Wesleyan; Gillian Giffen, Milligan (Tenn.); Rachael Dean, Saint Xavier (Ill.); Lindsey McDonald, Park (Mo.); Allie Antrim, Oklahoma Wesleyan; Allison Martin, Union (Tenn.); Holly Kopp, The Master's (Calif.); Kimberly Jennings, Vanguard (Calif.).

2011 Composite Award Winners (Men’s; Women’s)
No. 1: Evans Kirwa, Embry-Riddle (Fla.); Lauren Jimison, Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
No. 2: John Gilbertson, The Master's (Calif.); Gina Paletta, Concordia (Ore.)
No. 3: Evans Kirwa, Embry-Riddle (Fla.); Danielle Brenon, Houghton (N.Y.)
No. 4: Silas Kisorio, Oklahoma Christian; Ally Manley, Northwest Christian (Ore.)
No. 5: Matt Ditzler, Friends (Kan.); Lauren Jimison, Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
No. 6: Evans Kirwa, Embry-Riddle (Fla.); Sharon Ronoh, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
No. 7: Kennedy Kithuka, Wayland Baptist (Texas); Obsie Birru, Grand View (Iowa)