May 2 – Hobbs, NM. Sophomore Eunice Jepkogei, a track and field standout at New Mexico Junior College, recently signed a national letter of intent to attend Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Jepkogei, of Kapsabet, Kenya, arrived at NMJC in the fall of 2004 to study nursing and to participate in the women’s track and field program. Today, two years later, the 22-year-old Jepkogei is leaving with a number of track honors under her belt, including the distinction of being one of four members of the NMJC women's indoor track team that earned All-American status with a fifth-place finish in the distance medley relay at the NJCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championship March 3-4 in Manhattan, Kansas.
Coach Scott Williamson of Nicholls State writes in a recent letter that he is excited that Jepkogei will be joining the cross country/track and field team as part of “a great group of young ladies who want to work hard and become the best athletes possible.” Jepkogei will receive a full scholarship to Nicholls State covering tuition, fees, and books, as well as room and board.
Keith Blackwill, NMJC track/cross country coach, is understandably proud of Jepkogei’s efforts. “It’s always great seeing young adults like Eunice getting to move on to the next stage of the journey, and I know she’ll represent us very, very well.”
NMJC Athletic Director Richard Morris agrees. “I’m extremely proud of her coming in and being a student first and an athlete second,” he said. “She’s done a great job taking care of things in the classroom and on the field. Eunice is an ideal student athlete.”
Jepkogei, who is a bit more sentimental about the issue, insists that while she’s looking forward to moving to Louisiana, it will be tough to leave behind the good friends she’s made at the junior college. “I’m at home here. NMJC made me feel at home.”
Coming from a courageous young athlete who has ventured far from the familiarity of family and homeland to pursue her love of the sport, perhaps that’s the best compliment of all.
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