Campbell junior Athanas Kioko was voted the 2020-21 Big South Conference Men’s Track Athlete of the Year.
BUIES CREEK — Campbell junior Athanas Kioko was voted the 2020-21 Big South Conference Men’s Track Athlete of the Year, as announced Monday by the league’s office.
The awards are voted on by the Big South head track and field coaches as part of their annual June meeting, and encompass both the indoor track and field and outdoor track and field seasons.
Kioko capped his 2021 season with a third-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Championships earlier this month – the best individual finish in program history. The first-team All-American ran a school- and Big South-record time of 13 minutes, 13.47 seconds in the race, and took the lead momentarily but was ultimately overtaken in a three-way battle on the final lap.
Prior to his performance at nationals – held in Eugene, Oregon – Kioko was the Most Valuable Athlete of the Big South Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship, as he won three gold medals while becoming just the third individual to win the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 in the same meet. His time of 13:54.07 in the 5,000 was a championship meet record.
Kioko notched the best 5,000 in the East Region during the regular season with a then-school record of 13:28.41 at the Flames Invitational. In addition to his record-breaking time in the 5,000, Kioko had the league’s top times this season in the 1,500 (record 3:38.52 at the North Florida Invite) and 10,00m (29:20.30 at the Big South Championships). During the indoor campaign, Kioko ran a 4:02.84 mile at the Camel City Invitational, which is No. 3 all-time in Big South history, as well as a Big South season-best 8:05.48 in the 3,000 at the Carolina Challenge.