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Athletes of Distinction

BJ Graber Award
Sally Kipyego of South Plains Wins 2006 Betty Jo Graber Award

The 2006 NJCAA Betty Jo Graber Female Student Athlete of the Year was track and field standout Sally Kipyego of South Plains College, Levelland, Texas. 

Kipyego, the Female Athlete of the Meet at the 2005 and 2006 NJCAA National Outdoor Track and Field championships, holds NJCAA National Meet records in the1500-meter run (4:22.53) and 5,000-meter run (16:48.40); and holds school records in the 1,500-meter run, 3,000-meter run, 5,000-meter run and the 10,000-meter run. 

Kipyego was a seven time all-American and has six national championships in track and field and one in cross country. She was named Lady Texan Track MVP in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 and the Lady Texan Cross County MVP 2005-2006. 

Balancing school and athletics is what makes Kipyego stand out. During her tenure at South Plains she has lost only one race to a collegiate runner and finished undefeated against two-year college athletes. Academically, Kipyego, maintained a 3.34 GPA, received the Kathleen Truelock Award for Academic Excellence in 2005-2006.

"Sally is without a doubt the best distance runner I have ever coached and probably ever had the pleasure to know," said South Plains College Head Coach Chris Beene. "In my opinion, she is not only the best athlete in junior college, she may be one of the best athletes to ever compete at the junior college level. She is also a very sweet and kind young lady with a very hard work ethic and lust for life."

Kipyego continued her academic and athletic endeavors at Texas Tech University and won the 2006, 2007 and 2008 NCAA Cross Country Individual titles, becoming the first-ever four-time cross-country national champion in the history of the sport.






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