STILLWATER – During his senior year of high school, Victor Shitsama had no idea what he would do after graduation. He had no idea whether he would make it out of western Kenya, where he had grown up. Shitsama was inspired when his parents told him about a relative in Iten, Kenya, who could help him train for his goal of running cross country in the United States.
After moving in with his uncle in Iten, he began training with the aim of being recruited for the United States. Now, almost four years later, he’s running for the state of Oklahoma and his eye on the NCAA National Championship this year.
“When I finished high school, I immediately moved to Iten to begin my formal education,” Shitsama said. “In 2016 (OSU) had an assistant coach, Bobby Lockhart, who came to Kenya and took the U20 athletes to a championship in Nairobi. He saw me and told me that he saw me run and that I run well , and if I ran for a certain amount of time, he would give me a chance at OSU. That was the biggest motivation for me to put all my money into training and hard training. “
After hearing these motivational words from Lockhart, Shitsama set out to achieve his goal of visiting the state of Oklahoma. In 2018, two years after meeting Lockhart, he began the OSU application process.
“I consider it a privilege to be here in the US,” said Shitsama. “Because I think I wouldn’t have gone to college without this scholarship.”
Shitsama moved to Stillwater in 2018 and has no regrets receiving All-Big 12 Honors in his first indoor season with the Cowboys in 2019. In the 2020 cross-country season, Shitsama was voted Big 12 Cross Country Newcomer of the Year and at the same time set a new personal best in the Big 12 championship.
“I feel like it’s a home like I have a family at OSU because everyone is friendly,” Shitsama said. “Everyone is there for you and if you need help you can talk to anyone, and I just love being an OSU cowboy.”
Now, two years under his belt, Shitsama is entering his senior year after earning All America honors in his junior year and leading the Cowboys to a third place on the team at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships.
“Third place last year motivates us to work harder so we can win this year,” said Shitsama. “In addition, everyone on the team, from my team-mates to my coaches, is hungry and feels that we need this championship title.”
Shitsama has already set a personal best since this year and ran the 5 km distance this spring at 1.53.45 p.m. At the Cowboy Jamboree on September 18th, Shitsama was tenth with a time of 23: 58.6, which helped the Cowboys to a second place.
“My biggest goal this year is to win the NCAA Cross Country Championship,” said Shitsama. “For me as an individual, I want to reach the top 10 in the national cross-country championship.”
Shitsama and the Cowboy Cross Country Team will be back in action on October 15th in Madison, Wisc. for the Nuttycombe Invitational.