National and Africa champion Faith Chepng’etich got her year to a sterling start with a comprehensive victory in the final leg of the Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series at Kenya Prisons Service grounds, Sotik, on Saturday.
Kericho’s Philip Lang’at completed a glorious hat trick with victory in men’s 12km race after previous wins in Nyahururu and Machakos as Julius Tanki from Bomett won men’s junior 8km race for his second victory of the Series.
Valentine Chepkwemoi claimed women’s junior 6km race beating winner of Nyahururu and Machakos Sandra Chebet from Londiani to second place.
After finishing second in her first cross country race this season in Nyahururu on December 4, Chepng’etich, who is also the reigning World Cross Country junior champion, clocked 27 minutes 30 seconds to win.
The Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion, who turns 20 on January 10, stayed behind Africa junior cross champion Agnes Chebet and Caroline Chepkoech for the better part of the race before hitting the front with one kilometre to go to triumph.
“I was just testing their strength before going for the kill,” said Chepng’etich, who finished second behind Sheila Chepng’etich in Nyahururu.
“This is the year I want to graduate to senior ranks with victory at the World Cross Country Championships in China in March,” said the 2011 World junior cross champion, who is also looking forward to defending her national title on February 14 at Uhuru Gardens.
The Kenya team for the World Cross-country Championships due in March 28 in China will be named during the National Championships.
Chepng’etich, who is also the 2012 World Junior and 2011 World Youth 1,500m champion, said after cross country she will focus on the World Championships where she wants to make the national team and win a medal in 1,500m.
Jebet was second in 27:46.00 followed by Chepkoech.