Liberty senior All-American Azaria Kirwa has been named USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week for NCAA Division I men's cross country, thanks to his individual title at Friday's Iona College Meet of Champions.
Kirwa, who has opened his 2018 season with back-to-back victories, is Liberty's first-ever cross country runner to earn this award.
Kirwa covered the challenging 8K course at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y., in 25:01.0 to top the field of 137 runners. He finished two seconds ahead of runner-up Jamie Dee of No. 18 Iona and 5.9 seconds in front of third-place Kyle Mau, an All-American from Indiana.
A native of Eldoret, Kenya, Kirwa previously took top honors in the men's 6K at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Aug. 31. He is the first Liberty men's cross country runner to win back-to-back races since Zac Edwards in 2011 (Coastal Carolina Invitational/Big South Preview and Charlotte Invitational).
Earlier on Monday, it was announced that Kirwa had helped the Liberty men's cross country team climb to No. 5 in the USTFCCCA's Southeast Region rankings. This marks the Flames' highest regional ranking since a No. 4 listing on Oct. 13, 2008.
Following a weekend off from competition, Liberty will return to the course for the Sept. 28 Queen City Invite at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, N.C. The women's 5K is set to begin at 5 p.m., followed by the men's 8K at 5:30.
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