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Memorial for Cameron cross-country runner

Lawton_The Cameron athletic department paid respects to one of their own Thursday evening, with a memorial service for student-athlete Julius Kosgei.

A member of the Cameron cross-country team, Kosgei was killed in a car accident in Nebraska on August 4th.  The gifted runner from Eldoret, Kenya, was traveling to Lubbock with his cousin, to see another relative graduate from Texas Tech University.  They had been at a church camp.

His coach, teammates, and other members of the Cameron community shared stories about Kosgei and the impact he had on their lives.  Speakers said if you met Kosgei and reached out to shake his hand, his smile would warm your heart before your hands even met.  Though the service was somber, no one will ever forget the joy Kosgei shared with everyone.

Kosgei transferred to Cameron and joined the cross-country team in January.  In his short time on the team, he set the second fastest time in a 5-kilometer race in Cameron history.

At the Bobby Lane Invitational at the University of Texas-Arlington, Kosgei finished in 15 minutes 9 seconds.  That time was 29 seconds faster than his previous best in the race, equivalent to 3.1 miles.

His coach, Matt Aguero, says that type of improvement is astounding, as beating a previous time by 10 seconds is impressive."All the other runners are on the ground stretching, just trying to catch their breath," said Augero.   "He hears his time and he goes by me doing 3 or 4 cartwheels, just smiling the whole way, and that's just the kind of person he was."

Kenya didn't keep birth certificates when Kosgei was born, so there was some discrepancy about his age.  He said he was 21 when he first came to Cameron, but it is believed he was 31."I don't know exactly what date he finally got, but I see here we have 1976," joked one speaker.  "So Julius was born, at some point."  She said if Kosgei were here today, he would be laughing about all the kind things said about him.

Speakers continued to talk about his laughter and joy, as well as his maturity.  Those who knew him well said his maturity was evident in the classroom, as he worked just as hard there as he did on the track."He was probably the hardest studier I've ever seen," said Aguero. "That was his number one thing, he wanted to do well and he had great grades."

Coach Aguero and the current team will make sure that future runners know about Kosgei, too."What I hope is that we show them about Julius, the guys that are still here and me myself, that we actually show the emotions that he had show the dedication and the happiness and the care for others that he he had," Aguero said.  "I think that will actually go a lot further than telling them about him."

Kosgei attended Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kansas, before coming to Cameron.  Cloud will celebrate his life at a service on Sunday, and are establishing a Julius and George Kosgei scholarship fund to assist other international students.

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