UND sophomore runner Patrick Kipkemboi grew up in Eldoret, Kenya, and he has a high opinion of his hometown.

"My hometown is known as the City of Champions," Kipkemboi said.

Eliud Kipchoge, the world record holder in the marathon, is from Eldoret, as is two-time Olympic gold medalist runner Kipchoge Keino.

Kipkemboi has done his hometown proud in his first season at UND this spring.

After capturing the Summit League cross country title at Western Illinois last weekend, Kipkemboi has officially been announced as one of 38 individuals selected to compete at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship field, which will race Monday in Oklahoma.

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Kipkemboi is the first UND distance runner since Jason Kruger finished 71st in 1999 to compete individually at the NCAA Cross Country Championship.

Kipkemboi won the Summit League title March 5, becoming the first Fighting Hawk to win a Summit League title, one week after setting a UND record and finishing runner-up in the 5,000-meters at The Summit League Indoor Track & Field Championship.

He will be just the third runner from The Summit League since 2012 to compete in the NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country Championship. In addition, Kipkemboi will become the first individual from a North Dakota institution to participate in the NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country Championship.

The men's 10k race, run at Oklahoma State's course, will begin at 12:40 p.m. on Monday.

The race can be seen on ESPNU or from an ESPN online stream.

As a freshman, Kipkemboi competed at Lubbock Christian, finishing 11th at the NCAA Division II South Central Region cross country championship.

"The reason I chose to come to UND was I found my major here, and I wanted Division I competition," Kipkemboi said. "I was in a Division II school, and I found out the competition wasn't as high as Division I.

"I like my (UND) teammates and coaches and everything, regardless of the weather and the snow."

Kipkemboi, now 25, came to the United States in 2019.

"It has been interesting," he said of his time in Grand Forks. "Since I went to my first meet, I'm progressing and getting into good shape like I was before I came to the United States."

UND track and field/cross country coach Christine Engel said Kipkemboi has improved a lot in his year with UND.

"He's had a nice transition to the university," she said. "He's immersed himself quite well with the team. He's super upbeat and has an incredible work ethic. He's super respectful and has big goals set for himself."