By Garry Brown
Leakey Kipkosgei, who came to American International College from Kenya, has had quite a career as a long-distance runner on coach Leo Mayo’s track and field team.
As a junior in 2018, he placed third in the steeplechase at the NCAA Division II nationals, and made the All-America first team.
Prior to that, he received male track athlete of the year honors after winning the 1,500 and steeplechase in the Northeast-10 meet.
“Leaky had been training hard for his final outdoor season, and he opened up well by winning the 1,500 in our first meet,” coach Mayo said.
That happened March 23 at the University of South Florida’s Spring Break meet. Kipkosgei won in a provisional time of 3:50.35 – third best 1,500 time in the country this year.
“Our ultimate goal is to do well at the nationals (May 23-25 in Kingsville, Texas),” Mayo said.
Kipkosgei and his AIC teammates will be active on their home track today in the Yellow Jacket Invitational. Thirteen teams, including Springfield College, will take part. The first event goes off at 9 a.m.
Track and field, and cross country, were established as varsity sports at AIC by its new president, Vincent Maniaci, soon after he arrived in 2005. In August of 2006, Mayo became head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country and track teams.
The college’s John G. Hoyt ’52 Track & Field Complex, which includes the MassMutual soccer practice field, was completed in October of 2009.
In addition to AIC, three other Western Mass. colleges host invitational meets today.
Amherst College has its annual Spring Fling, Smith College hosts the Carla Coffey Classic (honoring its recently-retired coach) and the University of Massachusetts has its annual Minutemen Invitational. Williams and Mount Holyoke will have teams in the Amherst meet. Elms College will take part in the Carla Coffey Classic.