By Doug Gorman
Fidelis Mutiso had never heard of Clayton State University until he got on-line and surfed the net.
The native of Nairobi, Kenya was looking for a place where he could go to school and also continue his long-distance running career.
With its warm climate and proximity to Atlanta, the lake-lined campus in Morrow was the perfect Mutiso was looking for when he decided to study here in the United States.
"I knew once I found Clayton State on the web, it was where I wanted to be," he said.
Clayton State track and cross country coach Mike Mead is glad Mutiso decided to join the Lakers as both a cross country runner and track athlete.
Saturday afternoon, Mutiso will put an exclamation point on his cross country season when he travels to Evansville, Ind. to participate in the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships.
"I just hope to have a great experience up there," he said.
A strong showing would be icing on the cake for the math and biology major.
All ready this season, Mutiso has added to his cross country resume.
Mutiso won the Southern Challenge at Life University (28:01.8), finished third at the Berry Invitational (23:51.61) and finished fourth in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament (23.26.72).
A strong seventh-place showing at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regionals at Wingate University (32:22) secured Mutiso's invitation to this week's national event.
His banner season has translated into three cross country awards, including winning Peach Belt Co-Male Runner of the Year, 2009 All-Peach Belt Conference, and 2009 Division II All-Southeast Region honors.
Mutiso won't be unfamiliar with the Evansville course. Earlier this year, he got a sneak preview of the course when he turned in a 12th-place finish (26:20.08) at the Pre-Nationals.
This time around, Mutiso is hoping for better weather.
"It was rainy and the course was really muddy," he said. "I hope for better conditions this time around."