Kenya Native Navigates Siena, United States One Step at a Time

July 5, 2017

Check out the following feature in the upcoming edition of the Siena News magazine which is set to be released later this summer

While starting college can be a challenging task for any incoming freshman, it can be an even more daunting one when journeying to a foreign land. For Nandi Hills, Kenya native Evans Kibet, his Siena experience began by taking one step at a time. But by the conclusion of his first year in the states, Kibet was already in an all-out sprint towards success.

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The 2016-17 Siena College Athletics Male Rookie of the Year, Kibet nearly re-wrote the cross country and emerging track programs’ record books in just one year. He was awarded Siena’s first male MAAC Runner of the Week honor in seven years, and later became the program’s first-ever male All-MAAC selection. Kibet was an integral part of the Saints’ school record-setting distance medley relay squad which achieved a time of 10:05.73 to qualify for the IC4A Championships, and also became the program’s second-ever male individual qualifier for the tournament following his second place showing in the 800-meters at the MAAC Championships. He also excelled equally in the classroom, where he accrued a 3.17 GPA during his first collegiate semester while majoring in sociology.

However, the transition to a new country and a new style of running, would be a challenging one at first.

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“In Kenya running was different because I was practicing in high altitude areas, where most of the time I would be training alongside professional athletes,” said Kibet, who spent the majority of his time running in Eldoret, a principal city in Western Kenya where the elevation ranges from 7,000-9,000 feet above sea level. “In Kenya, I would concentrate on running only track events, and I was not accustomed to running long distances.”

While head coach John Kenworthy and his teammates helped him adjust on the course, Siena provided the tools necessary for him to acclimate in the classroom. Kibet credits Siena’s Writing Center for helping him learn the ropes of the academic world.

“Siena is a place where I have been able to explore my talent, while also competing for a Division I program. I wanted to study at a diverse school, and Siena has been the perfect fit for me to achieve my goals.”

Kibet aspires to one day represent his native Kenya in the Olympics and, following a highly successful freshman year, is already on the right track.