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NWACC Student Athlete Becomes the First to Sign with an NCAA Division II University
This new year marked a milestone for NWACC’s athletics program and student athlete Emmanuel Kipchirchir. Emmanuel is the first of the community college’s athletes to sign with a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) institution, Virginia State University, where he’ll participate in Division II cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field.
"Emmanuel signing with Virginia State is a historic event for our college, and we are all so proud of him,” said NWACC Athletics Director Brooke Brewer. ''As a new athletic program, we have so many 'firsts' to look forward to, and this is one of the firsts I have been the most excited about. Student athletes can come to NWACC, receive an excellent education, have a top-tier athletic experience with premier coaches, and then we can help them fly forward to the NCAA level."
“Being signed on to run cross country and track at Virginia State University is an incredibly exciting and fulfilling experience. It's a culmination of years of hard work, dedication and passion for the sport,” said Emmanuel. “The rigorous training given by Coach Boit like mile repeats and track workouts helped me develop the physical fitness, endurance and mental toughness necessary to compete at the collegiate level.”
Originally from Kapsabet, Kenya, Emmanuel joined NWACC in fall of 2021 as an international student and will graduate in spring of 2024 with an Associate of Applied Science in Liberal Arts and Science. “From the moment I stepped onto campus, I felt welcomed and valued as part of the NWACC family, especially from the international team led by Lo Lou,” explained Emmanuel. “Whether it was attending a campus event, participating in a service project, or cheering on our sports teams, there was always something exciting happening at NWACC.”
Although encouraged to run with NWACC’s cross country team, Emmanuel hesitated due to the newness of the program. Meeting Coach Josphat Boit, also from Kenya, quickly put him at ease. “Coach Boit was a significant inspiration for me to join the team,” said Emmanuel. “Although it was still small, you could tell that through his athletic experience, he was going to achieve something miraculous. And he did. We were the champions in the Region II Regional Championship back-to-back, and we were also in the top five in the nation for cross country in 2022.”
Coach Boit is an Arkansas Razorback alumni, a former National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Champion, two time NCAA National Champion and an eight time NCAA All-American athlete. He’s been coaching the NWACC cross country men’s and women’s teams since the program launched in 2021 and has led them to numerous victories.
The men's team won the NJCAA Region II Regional Championship in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and the women's team won it in 2022 and 2023. At the NJCAA National Championship in 2021, the men placed 11th, in 2022, they placed fifth and the women placed 18th, and in 2023, the men placed 14th and the women placed 23rd. And since the program began, three NWACC students have been named NJCAA All-American athletes.
As for Emmanuel’s collegiate record, he’s a two-time Regional II champion who placed sixth at the NJCAA National Championship in 2022 and is recognized as an All-American athlete.
Coach Boit is excited to see his Eagle fly forward in his athletic career as a Trojan at Virginia State University. "Emmanuel embarking on a new chapter is a huge accomplishment not only for him, but for all the NWACC family," said Coach Boit. "The path ahead is paved with determination and the promise of continued greatness for that young man."
Leaving NWACC and transferring to the university to study biology feels bittersweet to Emmanuel. “My experience at NWACC has truly been transformative and unforgettable,” he said. “NWACC will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am proud to be part of the NWACC community. Let’s go Eagles!”
Before he graduates and heads to Virginia, Emmanuel offers advice to high school students eager to compete at the college level and considering doing so at NWACC. “NWACC offers not only a top-notch education but also a supportive and enriching athletic program. By joining the cross country team, you'll not only have the chance to pursue your passion for running but also to be part of a close-knit community of athletes who share your dedication and drive.”