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Behind the Ball: Gladys Chepngetich

Gladys Chepngetich
Chepngetich embraces coach Pounds after taking the first place finish at the Furman Invitational

As Clemson students gear up for midterms this week, the Clemson cross country team has a big test of its own — the 2023 ACC Cross Country Championship.

The meet, held at Florida State University on Friday, will see the men toeing the line at 8 a.m. and the women at 9:30 a.m.

The 2023 season has brought newfound success with the performance of redshirt freshman Gladys Chepngetich. Despite this being her first year running cross country, Chepngetich has placed within the top three at all four of Clemson’s meets and has been tabbed as ACC Freshman of the Week twice.

Chepngetich hails from Eldoret, Kenya, a booming city known as “the cradle of running champions.” She moved away from her home for the first time ever in May and says she misses her family, friends and Kenyan cuisine consisting of staples such as fresh millet. While student-athletes are provided meals Monday-Thursday, the speedster still enjoys cooking her favorite Kenyan dishes.

Such a transition can be difficult for many, but it was made easier thanks to her easygoing personality.

“While I’m still new and don’t know too much about Clemson, I love everything about it,” she said.

Chepngetich has also been able to bond well with her fellow runners. When asked about her funniest teammate, she laughed immediately, saying it was junior Kayan Green.

In such a hectic lifestyle, the team typically partakes in get-togethers such as volleyball, dinners and more, activities that Chepngetich said she enjoys.

When it comes to her favorite event, Chepngetich was keen on the 800-meter and 1,500-meter but is willing to try it all.

At the Furman Invitational in September, Chepngetich took her first win as she sped to a 20:47.3 6K finish. Two weeks later, she won a highly competitive 5K at the Live in the Lou Cross Country Classic, covering the distance in 16:43.4.

While running can be a tough hobby to start, Chepngetich has two pieces of simple advice.
“Just be disciplined and train smart.”

With the biggest race of her career thus far on the horizon, Chepngetich will look to continue her impressive season on Friday

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Patrick Driscoll, Senior Reporter
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