Peter Kosgei already made a name for himself before he stepped on the track for the steeplechase at the 2008 Penn Relays. After all, Kosgei completed a Triple Crown (of sorts) in the previous three seasons with consecutive individual national titles in outdoor track & field (2007, steeplechase), cross country (2007) and indoor track & field (2008, 800 and mile).
But the former Hamilton College standout forever cemented his name into the annals of NCAA Division III history inside the friendly confines of Pennsylvania’s historic Franklin Field.
Kosgei, competing under the lights in the College Men’s Steeplechase Championship, broke a 22-year-old divisional record when he finished runner-up in 8:43.78. The previous all-time best of 8:43.93 was held by 2019 Hall of Fame inductee Jim Gathje since 1986. Kosgei and Gathje are still No. 1 and No. 2, with the next-closest athlete in the past 14 years at 8:44.01.
It’s safe to say Kosgei hit his stride after the Penn Relays. He won five more national titles over the next four seasons with back-to-back steeplechase-5000 doubles at the NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships in 2008 and 2009, as well as an indoor mile crown. Kosgei is only one of two men in NCAA history who have completed the steeplechase-5000 double more than once in a career (Nicodemus Naimadu of Abilene Christian did so in NCAA DII in 2005 and 2006).
By the time Kosgei graduated in 2009, he had a treasure chest of accolades. He was a nine-time national champion, 11-time All-American, four-time USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Year and a three-time USTFCCCA Regional Athlete of the Year, among other accomplishments.
Kosgei is the first athlete from Hamilton College to be inducted into the USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame.