VICTORIA, Kansas — In one of its final tune-ups before the NJCAA Region VI Championships on Oct. 29, the Cloud County Community College cross country teams had a solid showing at Saturday's Fort Hays State University Tiger Open, with a trio of T-Birds earning top-10 finishes.
"This race was a good preview of the KJCCC West and NJCAA Region VI competition," said Cloud County head coach, Drew Mahin, "and we have a lot of work left in the next 21 days."
Competitors on the men's and women's side were divided into a Gold race and a Black race, with the Gold races having a cap limit for the top NCAA Division II runners and select individuals from the NJCAA and NAIA ranks.
Cloud County freshman Moses Dirane elected to test his merit in the men's Gold race. With his goal set at running a time under 24 minutes, Dirane passed with flying colors as he finished the eight kilometer race in third place with a time of 23 minutes, 57.1 seconds.
In the men's Black race, Dirane's training partner and fellow South African, Thobile Mosito, earned a second-place finish with a time of 25:03.8.
Sophomore Stephanie Barrett collected the third top-10 of the day for Cloud County as she finished seventh in the women's Black race (five kilometers) with a time of 18:50.8. Barrett's run was just five seconds off her lifetime personal record in a 5K race.
Barrett's performance highlighted what was a good day and step in the right direction for the T-Birds' women's team. Freshmen Ariel St. John and Thandeka Manzana each finished in the top-100, with St. John placing 66th overall (20:30.5) and Manzana close behind in 72nd place (20:37.9). Rebecca Scholz finished in 101st-place with a time of 21:05.4, sophomore Camila Faundez was 110th overall (21:24.5), and Kiley Schmidtberger finished in 154th place (24:44.3).
"I'm proud of how the women's team is coming together this week, with five of them under the 21:30 mark," Mahin said. "It will take everyone under 20:45 to make an impact at conference for team scores. Stephanie had a really good race coming off her injury."
Rounding out the Cloud County runners in action Saturday were freshmen Dominic Rotich and Anthony Nunez, and sophomores Nick Roark and Bryce Ginther. Rotich record a top-100 finish as he placed 77th overall in the men's black race with a time of 27:55.3. Nunez finished 143rd overall (29:59.9), Roark took 149th overall (30:12.3), and Ginther followed right behind in 150th place with a time of 30:13.8.
The T-Birds will have next week off before returning to action Monday, Oct. 17 at the Butler County Invite. It'll be the last regular season meet for Cloud County before the KJCCC/Region VI Championships on Oct. 29.