Kipchumba solid in Toledo

Ryan Autullo and Ryan Autullo

Chalk up last week’s performance by Rogers Kipchumba as a lesson well learned.

The sophomore men’s cross country runner finished fourth overall to lead all Falcons at BGSU’s Mel Brodt Invitational on Aug. 11.

But head coach Cami Wells spotted some flaws in Kipchumba’s approach and quickly brought it to his attention.

“He started kicking a little early at the Mel Brodt meet, and he didn’t want to make that mistake again,” Wells said.

And on Saturday, he didn’t.

Kipchumba finished first overall in a time of 25:20 at the Central Collegiate Invitational at the Ottawa Hills Golf Course. He outlasted Brad Hunt of Black Squirrel TC by two seconds.

The orange and brown finished fifth overall with 138 points, while Central Michigan’s 25 points reigned supremacy. Host Toledo was seventh with a score of 155.

“Rogers ran a very smart race,” Wells said, “He sat back and let someone else take the responsibility of leading. He had winning on his mind the whole race and gradually moved up to put himself in a position to take the individual title against some talented runners.”

Following Kipchumba across the finish line was Falcon runners Edwin Cheriuyot (26:07), Bryan Jackson (27:35), Steve Ferber (28:14) and Ryan Rohrer (28:30).

Wells says that the relationship built between fellow Kenyans Kipchumba and Cheriuyot has helped spark the early season success of her squad.

“Rogers and Edwin are friends outside of practice, but so are all the guys on the team,” she said. “They are a much closer team this year. They work harder, they have clear goals, they are a lot of fun to work with and I am pleased to see them starting to take pride in representing Bowling Green.”

Despite Kipchumba’s win and the consistent improvement by her squad, Wells is far from satisfied. And with the rich history of BGSU cross country, she admits the program has a ways to go to be among the elite of the Mid-American Conference once again.

“Men’s cross country here at BGSU has a very impressive history, and we want to keep working towards bringing the team back to the prominence it once enjoyed,” Wells continued. “It is a process, and it doesn’t come easy, but we are moving in the right direction.”

The direction right now is west, as the Falcons prepare for Saturday’s Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California.

“My expectations for this team are very high, so they have not exceeded them,” Wells said, “But I am pleased with their progress and work ethic.”