Jayhawk Insider: A Run at History
By: Dayton Hammes
As someone who began her running career running to and from school for fun, two-time cross country All-American Sharon Lokedi has come a long way, now competing in her final season running for the Kansas cross country team.
During her cross country career alone, Lokedi has racked up numerous accolades. The Eldoret, Kenya native has been named the Big 12 Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year twice (2016 and 2017) and won back-to-back Big 12 Conference titles.
Lokedi’s 2016 Big 12 championship made her the first KU female to win a conference title and her second league victory in 2017 made her just the fourth female to win multiple individual conference titles in the history of the Big 12.
Lokedi looks to become just the third runner and second woman to win three-straight Big 12 Conference titles on Friday as she runs in her final Big 12 cross country championship.
Out of all of these awards and medals, what brings Lokedi the most pride? Being a Jayhawk.
“The most important thing is just being able to compete as a Jayhawk,” Lokedi said. “It has always been an honor and I feel like it is a privilege all the time to get to wear a Jayhawk and run.”
Being a Jayhawk hasn’t only played a role in her success as a runner, but also with her adjustment to life in a new country. Not knowing much about the United States when she first came here, Lokedi relied a lot on her coaches and teammates to help her get adjusted to a new culture and lifestyle.
“I came here, and I didn’t know anything,” Lokedi said. “My teammates and coaches helped me get used to the United States.”
It was that Kansas support system that has helped Lokedi to become a top collegiate athlete. Both in the successes and the struggles, Lokedi’s teammates and coaches have been right by her side, cheering her on through it all.
Whether its running together at the Big 12 Championships or having the team cheer her on at the NCAA Championships the past two years, Lokedi couldn’t picture these experiences without her teammates by her side.
“Knowing that I have the support of all of my teammates has truly been an amazing thing,” Lokedi said. “I’m really grateful for all of those memories. They might be good, they might be bad, but all of them had a mark on my time here. I’m just extremely grateful for all of them.”
Lokedi has three more races to make memories with her teammates by her side, but ultimately, she hopes that when people think of her and her time at KU, that they think of her drive and determination.
“I just hope that I motivated people whether that was through racing or outside of racing,” Lokedi said. “I just want people to look to me and say, ‘I want to be like the racer she is, as hardworking as she is, I just want to be as good as she was.’ I want people to look up and be like, ‘if Sharon did it why not us?'”
Looking ahead to some of her last runs as Jayhawk, Lokedi still has some big goals she wants to accomplish, but there’s no denying that she’ll always be remembered as one of the hardworking and successful Jayhawks of all time.
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