By Eric Saunders, staff writer
The men’s and women’s cross country teams both finished 17th place in the NCAA South Central Regionals hosted in Denver on Saturday.
Head Coach Josh Schepis said he is thrilled about the way the season turned out for the Jets.
“Any time you run at 5,400-foot elevation, you are a bit conquered, but both teams ran well and came out ahead of the predictions,” Schepis said.
On the men’s side, junior Peter Neidhart led the team with a time of 35:47 and placed 73rd. Shortly after, senior Manase Busienei followed with a time of 36:13 (88th).
Junior Joktan Tanui came behind only seconds after, with a time of 36:18 (93rd), while freshman Joey Kenneson ran a time of 36:39 (105th) for his first 10K, and junior Martin Calderon finished with a time of 36:44 (108th).
Other finishers for the Jets included junior Cliff Kissling and senior Zach Ball, who ran times of 37:06 (113th) and 38:28 (130th), respectively.
“Going into regionals, we knew we had another challenge besides racing against other teams,” junior Martin Calderon said. “The elevation is something we weren’t used to, but figured out a way to race through it. Beating DBU showed not only ourselves but to the whole Heartland Conference that we are the better team. It was an accomplishment to beat DBU in such tough conditions.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Rubi Torres ran one of her best 6Ks this season, finishing with a time of 24:13 (50th). Following her was junior Taylor Carlson, with a time of 25:10 (82nd), senior Katie Hamlin-Kissling with 25:36 (95th), junior Julie Randell with 26:37 (123rd) and junior Brittnie May with 26:52 (129th).
Other finishers included juniors Tiana Hacker and Zenah Chepkwony, with times of 27:52 (139th) and 28:25 (145th), respectively.
“The altitude was hard, but we persevered through it and ended on a good note with placing 17th out of 33 teams,” junior Julie Randall said. “In the end, I was happy with the way our season turned out, and we had great performances from both sides.”