TCU places third as Kigen wins individual title at Texas A&M Invitational
Sept. 16, 2006
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - After holding freshman Festus Kigen out of last week's North Texas Invitational to rest, head coach Eric Heins' strategy paid dividends on Saturday, as Kigen won the individual title and helped the TCU men's cross country team to a third-place finish at the Texas A&M Invitational.
"We went into the meet feeling confident that we could finish in the top three," head coach Eric Heins said. "We wanted Festus (Kigen) to go out and set the pace for us and have everyone else finish in the upper half of the field as a pack."
Competing at the Texas A&M Intramural Fields, Kigen was able to outdistance the field of 104 runners to claim his first individual title with a time of 25:16 in the men's 7,942-meter race. Kigen held off Matthew Munoz (unattached), who finished second with a time of 25:19.
"Festus is still trying to figure out how hard to push himself," Heins said. "Today was his first race of this distance, so it is still a learning process for him. I am happy for him and it is good to see the progress he is making as he continues to learn how to pace himself."
With the women's team off this weekend, Kigen led TCU's men's squad, which had each of its top seven runners place in the top 35. TCU tallied 92 points to finish third overall in the 13-team meet. The Horned Frogs were defeated by Sam Houston State (51 points) and host Texas A&M, which won the even with 25 points.
"We had some guys really step up for us today and it really shows the depth of our team," Heins said. "Matt Manly ran very well and placed 12th, which was the 10th scoring position. Michael Garcia also performed very well and he was our fifth man today after being our eighth at the North Texas Invitational. I am proud of the team and it shows that if someone has an off race, there will be someone there to fill the void."
Matt Manly placed 12th with a time of 26:20 to pace the remainder of TCU's runners. Finishing 28th and 29th were Steven Solazzo and J.T. Reinert, who finished in a time of 27:06 and 27:12, respectively.
Finishing fifth for TCU and 31st overall was Michael Garcia, who finished in a time of 27:20.
The TCU women's team will return to action with the men's team on Sept. 30 at the Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla.