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Life beyond the finish line: TAMU-CC student athlete puts in work on, off the field

Student athlete Dennis Kipngeno is a shooting star both on and off the field. Kipngeno is a nursing student who won multiple track & field conference awards.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Athletics at the Island University have been thriving -- especially in cross country, where one of the men's runners won awards at the Southland Conference track meet at the start of the fall.

Dennis Kipngeno is from Kenya and started his track career in 2020, when he decided to run for the Island University. This year Kipngeno won the Southland Conference Student-Athlete of the Year award.

While he is proud of his accomplishments, Kipngeno said running is just one side of him.

"Being a foreigner and coming all the way from Kenya, I believe I can't waste my opportunity. I need to at least put something on the table," he said.

Aside from being a student athlete, Kipngeno is also a nursing major. Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Brent Ericksen said that Kipngeno's choice in major speaks a lot to his determination.

"He's a nursing major. Nursing is one of the hardest majors that are at our university. In fact, there's a lot of division one schools that won't let their kids be a nursing major because of all the hours required, all the clinicals that go from 7:30 to 2:30 and all the classes," he said.

This year alone, Kipngeno has won the 5K and 10K out-door race at conference. Despite his endeavors, Kipngeno couldn't compete because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ever since he was a kid, Kipngeno knew he had a life beyond running track. Which is why when he's not lacing up his shoes -- he's hitting the books.

"I believe my purpose in this life is to help someone. I am counting down the days to when I can really help some people," he said.

Kipngeno adds that in the end, hard work and dedication are what truly makes a difference in someone's life.

"If I'm doing something good, then I'll have a reason to keep pushing. For me, I need to make sure my efforts are paying off," he said.

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