Chesang Earns All-American Honors at Cross Country Championship
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. Senior Mathew Chesang became the first Wildcat male since Francis O’Neill in 1992 to achieve All-American status placing 12th at the 2004 NCAA Championships Monday in Terre Haute, Ind. Colorado won the men’s team national championship totalling 92 points, edging out Wisconsin. The Buffaloes also won the women’s national championship, tallying 63 points, well ahead of second-place Duke with 144.
Chesang started the 10-kilometer race among the lead pack. The All-Big 12 performer overcame a spongy surface at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course to remain with the lead pack for the first 5,000 meters. The leaders then began to pull away but Chesang refused to let them out of his sight. In the final mile of the race Chesang was among the top-six, but fatigue began to set in before he eventually finished in 12th, earning his All-American distinction. Chesang crossed the line in his final race as a Wildcat in 31:11.70.
Head coach Michael Smith was overjoyed with the way his senior ran today.
“Mathew is one of the greatest cross country runners in Kansas State history. Today’s performance was one of the greatest in the history of the program.”
At the 2003 NCAA Championships, Chesang placed 128th after running the course in 31:04.30 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
“Today’s performance was one of the gutsiest performances I have ever seen,” said Smith. ”It is just incredible the amount of training Mathew missed (due to a mid-season car accident), that he could come out here and run like this. There are not enough adjectives to describe what Mathew has accomplished.”
Winning the individual titles on Monday were Simon Bairu of Wisconsin (30:37.70) on the men’s side and Kim Smith of Providence (20:09) on the women’s side in an 8-kilometer race.
With the conclusion of the cross country season, Chesang and the 2004-2005 Wildcat track and field teams will begin competition with the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon on Dec. 10 at Ahearn Fieldhouse and the KSU All-Comers meet on Dec. 11.