Tuesday morning offered a rare moment when Darius Kipyego stood still.
The St. Raphael Academy athletics star hasn’t had much in the past four years. Whether it was running to fame on the Oval, striving for excellence in the classroom, or volunteering at his church, Kipyego always seemed to find his rather busy schedule while representing the Saints.
He looked superb in all places, and Kipyego’s latest award reflects his commitment to being a true student-athlete. He was named in 2021 Providence Journal Honor Roll Boy, the next in a line of outstanding representatives of the Interschool League dating back to 1927.
“I thought back to my first year when things were a little different,” Kipyego said. “I was playing football. Everyone said high school was going to pass.
“And of course, when you’re in first grade, you’re like, ‘Ah, that’s gonna take a long time. “But really, it went so quickly.
Kipyego will continue his athletic career at Iowa State this fall. He just made an appearance at the Outdoor Nationals, a competition sponsored by Nike in his home state of Oregon. Kipyego won his final All-American honor for St. Raphael, finishing fifth in the 800 meters at Hayward Field.
“Darius is a remarkable young man,” said Saints athletic director Erika Paiva. “It was an honor and a pleasure.”
Kipyego was selected from a pool of applicants from across the state. Each school was invited to identify candidates for the award, which includes a $ 5,000 scholarship sponsored by Finetco. Presentations were made at one of the company’s subsidiaries, Coventry Lumber, by Coventry High Sporting Director Chuck Jones and Finetco Controller Sean Finnegan.
“Growing up, sport was also a part of my life,” said Finnegan. “I understand the commitment, the hard work that carries over into your professional life.”
The Kipyego graduates hold three state records on the track and with the last two Gatorade Player of the Year honors outdoors in his pocket. He competed at the Pan American Under-20 Track and Field Championships and played cross country after transitioning from the grill. Kipyego’s work with St. Raphael coach Chris Magill recalls a time when the Saints were prominent in the state’s cross country scene thanks to individual champions Neil Butler, Scott Palumbo and Garrett Vaslet.
“It’s good to bring this back,” Kipyego said. “We missed it a bit. ”
Kipyego has earned straight A’s in his classes since starting his junior year, and he thanks the community of St. Raphael as a whole for allowing extra time between his track pursuits. He felt comfortable walking into the offices of school principal Daniel Richard or guidance counselor Malaina Murphy without having to give much notice. Kipyego credited his teachers with challenging him in a way that never forced him to choose between studying and athletics.
“Of course there were some tough times,” Kipyego said. “With the finals and the mid-sessions, it was difficult, especially taking specialization courses and engineering courses. It is not always the easiest.
On Twitter: @ BillKoch25