Kibets siblings share UA cross country bond
Cross country siblings Elvin Kibet and Collins Kibet have made a name for themselves since attending the UA.
The brother and sister duo hail from Eldoret, Kenya and a family of 12.
Neither Kibet sibling had any competitive running experience before coming to the UA, yet both have been important to their teams. Elvin Kibet, a senior in cross country and a junior in track and field, came to the UA in 2010 and is one of the team’s top runners.
Last year, Elvin Kibet was All-Pac-12 and an All-American, both athletically and academically in cross country, and in track and field, was all-conference and an All-American. She was named to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic team for track and field.
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat Collins Kibet crosses the finish line at the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson on Sept. 20, 2013.
Elvin Kibet said she received a lot of help in the transition to a new country by coaches, staff, other student-athletes and other students.
“I have people here that can really help me,” Elvin Kibet said. “Most people here think it’s cool who you are and appreciate you because they think, ‘Oh, look at them, they’ve been through all these things, they come from another country and it must be hard for them.’ They appreciate … every little thing we do.
Younger brother Collins Kibet, a freshman, came to the UA this year and has already impressed, by winning the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson a few weeks back.
“Collins’ first win as a Wildcat and as a freshman — it’s great,” said associate head coach James Li. “It wasn’t a particularly competitive race but it was great for him to win, and next time will be a much bigger test for him and the rest of our team.”
Now that Collins Kibet is a Wildcat, the two, who said they are close, can rely on each other when they have a tough day or are feeling homesick.
“It’s nice to have her here,” Collins Kibet said. “Every time I have problems … I know Elvin did it, so it should be possible to be done. Whenever it’s hard, I just ask her how to do something. It’s [a] very relaxed [feeling — being together].”
With a little less than five weeks until the NCAA Championships, the men’s team is ranked No. 10 in the Western Regional Poll, and the women moved into the No. 1 spot in the national rankings for the first time.
When the Kibets are not running, they like to attend other Arizona sport events, enjoy the Tucson weather and make Kenyan food to get a taste of home.
Collins Kibet and Elvin Kibet have made an impact, but they might not be the last Kibets to come stateside. Their sisters Silva Kibet and Hildah Kibet have also taken up running.
“We have sisters who run and I’ve seen them running, and they told me about the opportunity to come [to the United States] and do whatever I wanted to do, so I wanted to give it try,” Elvin Kibet said.
— Follow Makenzie Thiel @makenziethiel