Tiger cross country teams capture region titles in Hutchinson
Putting together some of its best performances of the season, the NJCAA Division II No. 4-ranked Cowley College men's and women's cross country teams each captured Region VI titles Friday in Hutchinson. The Lady Tigers also ran their streak of conference titles to six in a row, while the Tiger men placed second in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division to Butler Community College.
Sophomore Andrea Garcia-Gonzalez led the way for the Lady Tigers by placing 19th in the 3.1-mile race with a time of 20:24.90. Fellow sophomore Delicia Boothe was just behind in 21st place with a time of 20:27.88.
"Andrea ran the best race of her life and led our team today," Cowley head coach Cameron Rieth said. "Delicia also stepped up for the team and ran great on a bum knee."
Cowley's Dheniffer Vaz (20:36.19), Abigail Pinnock (20:36.65), and Paula Pi-Rodriguez (20:44.88) finished 24th through 26th as the time from Cowley's first finisher to its fifth was only separated by 20 seconds.
"Our women ran fantastic as a pack. It was the best race they have run all year," Rieth said. "They were the underdogs coming into the conference meet, but they ran phenomenally."
"I am super proud of how our girls put it together," Rieth said. "With all our girls have been through this season, I cannot be any prouder."
Emily Diercks of Colby Community College won the women's race with a time of 18:06.82.
Despite finishing just behind Butler in the conference standings on the men's side, the Tigers did enough to bring home the DII region title.
"Aidan broke 26 minutes for the first time, and Basheer Suied (27:07.39) and Mason Bickle (27:08.10) ran very good races as well," Rieth said. "We just need to get our pack up a little bit further earlier in the race, so we don't have to work as hard and run out of legs. Our fellas were still able to run well enough to bring home the Region title, and I am proud of their efforts either way."
Other Tiger runners at the meet were Joel Rodriguez (26:15.78), Randy Rojas-Mendez (26:27.41), Goran Duijsters (26:58.25), Aaron Medrano (27:25.35), Edgar Reyes (28:15.27), and Jacob Coronado (28:41.50).
Colby's Sanele Masondo (23:31.55) finished just ahead of Butler's Rodger Rotich (23:32.94) for the top spot in the men's race.
The Tiger men are set to defend their title when the Cowley cross country teams compete at the NJCAA Division II National Championships Saturday, November 12, in Tallahassee, FL.