(L-R): Big South Women's Runner of the Year Ednah Kurgat earned All-America honors in women's cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field in 2015-16.
Liberty sophomore Ednah Kurgat has been named the 2015-16 Big South Conference Women's Runner of the Year, it was announced on Thursday. The award was voted upon by the Big South cross country/track & field head coaches and encompasses the entire cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field seasons.
Kurgat becomes the first Lady Flame to earn this award since Heather Sagan in 2002. The other three major award winners included Campbell sophomore Lawrence Kipkoech (Men's Runner of the Year), Charleston Southern senior Braxton Drummond (Men's Field Athlete of the Year) and Winthrop junior Marthaline Cooper (Women's Field Athlete of the Year).
A native of Eldoret, Kenya, Kurgat became the first Lady Flame ever to earn NCAA Division I All-America honors in women's cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field during the same athletic year. She also captured three Big South titles and set five school records on the year.
Kurgat's freshman cross country season culminated with a 12th-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship. She clocked a program-record 6K time of 20:06.7, becoming Liberty's first-ever NCAA Division I All-American in women's cross country. Kurgat qualified for the national meet by finishing as the runner-up at the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championship, the best-ever regional finish by a Lady Flame.
Kurgat also came in second at the Big South Cross Country Championship, earning Big South Freshman of the Year honors. Earlier in the season, she had clocked a Liberty 5K-record time of 17:11.1 at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. The biology major earned a spot on the USTFCCCA All-Academic team for women's cross country.
Kurgat's second All-America distinction came as a result of her ninth-place finish in the women's 5K at the 2016 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championship. The performance netted second team All-America honors. Kurgat punched her ticket to the national championship with a Liberty and Big South women's indoor 5K record time of 15:47.89 at the Husky Classic.
The indoor season also saw Kurgat win both the women's mile (personal-best 4:50.82) and 3K (school-record 9:32.67) titles at the Big South meet, despite competing in the slow heat of both events. It marked Kurgat's second straight Big South 3K crown.
Kurgat's athletic year wrapped up in impressive fashion, as she placed fourth in the women's 5K at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championship. The first team All-American scored the Lady Flames' first points at the meet since 2002.
Kurgat shattered the Liberty and Big South women's outdoor 5K records with her 15:48.63 effort at the Mt. SAC Relays. Meanwhile, her lone 10K of the season resulted in a Big South championship.
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