Abby Cheruiyot, Colby College
Abby Cheruiyot did not take up running until
the end of her junior year at the Sing'ore Girls Secondary School
in Kenya. So the last thing on her mind then would have been
running for four years at Colby College in Maine.
Cheruiyot, though, did run cross country and distance for the Colby indoor and outdoor track and field teams. The student who came to the United States as a novice athlete ended her collegiate career with 12 letters.
"She was an exceptional student when she came here," Colby head coach Deb Aitken said. "She improved significantly over the years despite getting such a late start in running. I know she was one of the top Biology students and the women on the team loved her. She helped many of them, tutoring in math and science."
Cheruiyot's hometown of Eldoret boasts some of the greatest runners in the world, including Olympic great Kip Keino. Hamilton College nine-time national champion Peter Kosgei also is from Eldoret.
Cheruiyot was Colby's first student-athlete from the Kenya Scholar Athlete Project (KenSAP), which was started in 2004 to help bright students from an underserved region of Kenya gain admission to elite colleges in the United States. The group has placed 55 students since it began and nine of the 11 New England Small College Athletic Conference schools have had student-athletes from the project.
Cheruiyot, who was on the NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team and the NESCAC Fall All-Sportsmanship Team as a senior, consistently improved athletically in her four years at Colby. She was 54th at the Maine State Cross Country Championships a first year, moved to 31st as a junior, and this past season was 24th at the event.
Cheruiyot was a medical research assistant at Kenya Medical Research Institute during the summer of 2011.