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Cross Country’s Chipangama Looks to Build Upon His Junior College Successes

By Eric DeSalvo, NAU Media Relations

Only two years ago, Jordan Chipangama was making a huge transition in his life, moving to the United States from South Africa. Now the former junior college national champion is making a large transition once again. This fall Chipangama will be competing with the Northern Arizona cross country team against some of the best runners that Division I athletics has to offer.

Chipangama made the trip to Flagstaff earlier this summer after spending two years at Central Arizona College (Coolidge). The junior joins a team that boasts three All-Americans, and with his experience, Chipangama hopes to add to that number. Recently the Zambia native discussed his experiences at the junior college level, his recruitment process and his goals for the season.


On his experience at Central Arizona College…

“I really was able to get a good experience. I had to race against other big junior colleges. I learned a lot from there. The coaching staff was very good, and the teammates were good and very intelligent.”

On how he came to the United States…

“I am from Zambia, but I went to high school in South Africa. I came to the United States when I was 17 and went straight to Central Arizona. They contacted me through my high school coach who asked me if I was willing to come here. I said ‘why not?’”

On his recruitment process…

“I came to NAU through my recruitment. Other coaches saw my potential, but NAU asked if I was willing to run for them. I also looked at other schools. Alabama and Oregon were the other two that I was considering.”

On the awards he received at the junior college level…

“My first year, I finished 8th at Nationals and then the following year I finished second at the same event. Also in my sophomore year I won the Junior College Regional. Those were my two biggest cross country achievements. In track, I won the 2009 1,500m title and the year before that, I finished third in the same event. In the 5,000m race, I finished second both years I competed.”

On his goals for this season…

“I just want to try to do my very best. Though cross country isn’t my peanut butter and jelly, I will be trying my very best. I really don’t have many goals for track. I do want to run a sub-4:00 in the 1,600m, and a sub-3:40 in the 1,500m.”

On what he likes to do when he isn’t running…

“I just like to chill with friends.”

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