Rutto named C-USA XC Athlete of the Week

First male MT runner since 2011

September 3, 2013 · @MTAthletics

IRVING, Texas - Middle Tennessee freshman Eliud Rutto was named Conference USA Cross Country Athlete of the Week as announced by the league office today. 

The recognition comes after a stellar performance at the Belmont Invitational. Rutto, running in his first cross country meet for MT, finished 12th of 116 runners at the 10 team event with a time of 16:08.76. He averaged a 5:11.9 mile in the 5k (3.1 miles).

Peter Okwera of Tennessee took home first place honors at the Belmont Invitational with a time of 15:41.2, less than 30 seconds better. Rutto is the first male runner to win athlete of the week honors since Justus David won in October 2011.

"His versatility has improved," said Head Coach Dean Hayes. "He has really improved his abilities and can run short-to-long. We look for him to make an impact throughout the year and become our number one runner."

The feat is remarkable noting that Rutto has never run cross country in his home country of Kenya. He primarily was a 200-meter and 400-meter runner. Hayes first experimented with Rutto as a distance runner by thrusting him into the lineup for the 800-meter during the fall of 2012. He set a school record of 1:48.07 in the event at the NCAA Regionals. 

Middle Tennessee will be in action Friday Sept. 6 at the PowerAde Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn.

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