LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech junior cross country runner Kennedy Kithuka has been tabbed the National Male Athlete of the Year by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association of America for the 2012 cross country season.
The announcement comes Tuesday after Kithuka became the first male athlete in Texas Tech history to capture the NCAA Cross Country Championship on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
"This is a great honor for Kennedy to cap an outstanding year of running." Texas Tech head cross country coach Jon Murraysaid. "After all of his dominate performances throughout the year it is a well deserved honor."
The Thika, Kenya native is the first Texas Tech product to be named the National Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA since former Lady Raider Sally Kipyego earned the recognition in 2008. Kipyego was named Athlete of the Year on four occasions for both cross country and track and field during her unprecedented career which featured nine NCAA National Championships.
Kithuka, the first Texas Tech men's All-American cross country athlete since 2006, finished first overall at the 2012 NCAA Championship meet in Louisville, Ky. with a course record time of 28:31.3 at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park. He went undefeated during seven meets this season which included a first place finish at the Big 12 Championships in October.