College's 2011 Riffle Award winners announced
Hamilton College men's cross country and track & field national champion Peter Kosgei '11 (Kapsabet, Kenya/Kapsabet Boys' School) and women's lacrosse All-American Sarah Bray '11 (Rockville, Md./Connelly School of the Holy Child) received the 2011 Jack B. Riffle Awards at the College's senior varsity athlete awards dinner on May 18.
The Riffle Award has been presented annually since 1987 to the most outstanding Hamilton male and female senior athlete. Riffle graduated from Hamilton in 1950 and passed away on Dec. 13, 1986. A group of Riffle's friends and associates established a memorial fund in his name because of his deep interest in Hamilton athletics.
Kosgei and Bray are continuing their educations by enrolling in doctorate degree programs this fall. Kosgei will study material chemistry at Binghamton University for the next four to five years. Bray will study mathematics at Tufts University.
Kosgei captured nine NCAA titles and 11 All-America awards in cross country and track. He is the first men's cross country runner and third men's track and field athlete to receive the Riffle Award.
Kosgei was a three-time All-American and the 2008 national champion in cross country. He finished first in the NCAA Division III Atlantic Region championships three times. He is the first athlete to win the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) most outstanding performer award four times. He holds the Hamilton 8-kilometer course record of 24 minutes, 39.9 seconds, and the team's all-time record of 23:42 set at Lehigh University in 2009.
In indoor track, Kosgei was the national champion in the 800-meter run and the mile in 2008, and again in the mile in 2009. He was selected the 2008 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III men's indoor track athlete of the year. He was the Liberty League track performer of the year in 2008 and 2009, and set school indoor records in six events.
In outdoor track, Kosgei ran to NCAA titles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5,000-meter run in 2008 and 2009, and the steeplechase in 2007. He was selected the USTFCCCA Division III men's outdoor track athlete of the year in 2008 and 2009. He was voted the NESCAC most outstanding male performer at the conference's outdoor championships in 2008 and 2009, and owns four school records.
Kosgei's steeplechase time of 8:43.78 at the 2008 Penn Relays was the second-fastest in Division III history, and met an Olympic standard. His pursuit of more accolades was cut short by a leg injury in the middle of the 2011 indoor season. He never competed during the outdoor season after he suffered two broken legs and a broken arm as the result of a brutal attack while he was visiting family in Kenya in March.
Bray burst onto the Hamilton athletic scene as a first-year in 2008 when she was named the most outstanding player of the 2008 NCAA championship after she came off the bench to score five goals as she led the Continentals to their first national team title in any sport. She is the fifth straight female Riffle winner from the women's lacrosse team, and the 11th overall.
Bray was a 2010 first team All-American and a three-time all-region honoree, including the first team in 2011. She was named the 2011 Liberty League offensive player of the year, and was a four-time all-league selection. She finished her career ranked second on the team's all-time list with 249 points and 111 assists, and tied for fifth with 138 goals. She earned a spot on the league women's lacrosse all-academic team three times.
Bray helped lead the team to a record of 76-7, including 39-1 against league opponents, and 38-1 at home. The women's lacrosse program made four NCAA championship appearances, advanced to three national semifinals, claimed four league championship titles and marched to three league regular season championships during Bray's stellar career.
The featured guest speaker was James Hacker '81, who was a four-year letter winner and three-year starter as an offensive lineman on the football team. Hacker grew up in nearby New Hartford and attended New Hartford High School. He graduated from Hamilton with a degree in government, and maintains a litigation practice with the Albany firm of Hacker Murphy LLP.