Samwel Chebolei from Nyanza North on Saturday retained his men's Under-20 8km title at the Lotto Athletics Kenya Cross Country Championships at the Ngong Racecourse.
Chebolei dropped North Rift's Jacob Krop in the last 2km and never looked back to win in 24 minutes and 09.0 seconds.
Krop, who represented Kenya in 5,000m at Doha World Championships last year, settled second in 24:14.7 with Shadrack Kipchirchir from Central digging in for third place in 24:22.8 to all make Team Kenya for the Africa Cross Country Championships due April 8 in Lome, Togo.
"I knew I would be the target by virtue of being the defending champion," said Chebolei, who stayed in the middle of the leading pack in the first two laps before moving to the front with two laps to go.
"It was my strategy having only trained for one month," said Chebolei, adding that he learnt a lot during the World Cross Country Championships last year in Denmark where he finished eighth.
"I didn't have the experience then but I now know what to do in Togo," said Chebolei.
Krop said they were far ahead of the pack hence didn't want to push. "I am satisfied with my performance and looking forward for the Africa event," said Krop.
Vincent Kipchumba from Central Rift claimed the boys' Under-18 6km race in 18:09.5, beating Nairobi's Benson Sigei in 18:19.9. David Mungai from Central came in third in 18:23.8.