GOODLAND, KS- Saturday, September 23, 2017, Tabor College Invitational, Hillsboro, KS
The Northwest Tech Men's and Woman Cross Country team participated in the Tabor College Invitational starting at 10:30 am Central. At the Colby CC meet, both men and women ran the 5k course, however, this was the men's first foray into the 8k (5-mile) distance. At a meet that was dominated by NAIA talent, the Northwest Tech men and woman were the surprise of the day.
For the women's race, MidAmerican Nazarene dominated. They finished 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 for a near perfect score. One Tabor athlete spoiled that by placing 4th. Former Dodge City CC standout (and last year's winner of this race), Rachel White was the 5th place finisher for MidAmerican. MidAmerican was first with 17 team points followed by Sterling with 74, Tabor with 89, Hesston with 104, St Gregory's with 113, McPherson with 155, and Avila with 163. Hesston was the only other Region VI competitor at the meet.
Courtney Raab (SO, BT, Aravda, CO) made a huge leap forward in the 5k race for this meet. Her time of 26:55.22 blew away her time from 3 weeks ago by over 4 minutes. Raab is coming into her own as a distance runner. She continues to set goals for herself and incrementally attacks them. She was very motivated by chatter from girls close behind expecting her to "die." As mentioned before, Raab is really more of a 200/400 runner, so a 5k is a long day for her. She will reap big dividends from this type of training during Track season.
On the Men's side, McPherson won the day with 36 team points followed by MidAmerican Nazarene with 56, Sterling with 72, Tabor with 100, Bethany with 108, Hesston with 143, and Avila with 146. Several former Region VI athletes were in the mix for the NAIA teams. Former Garden City CC standout Carlos Guzman lead the way for MidAmerican and Northwest Tech's own Jamall Theodile finished well for Bethany College. Northwest Tech and St. Gregory's did not field full teams.
Benard Langat (FR, BT, Kenya) and teammate, Daniel Kirwa (FR, DT, Kenya) finished in 1st and 2nd places respectively. After what Langat and Kirwa deemed as a disappointing performance at Colby CC 3 weeks ago, we took the time to focus on the 8k distance and have spoken at length about their strength and weaknesses. Both gentlemen have more natural ability at the longer distance 8k and 10k distances versus the relatively shorter 5k race. We also talked a lot about race strategy and not needing to lead from the beginning if we were way out of our comfort zone. At the 2-mile mark, Langat had already established a 12 second lead over Kirwa; as they were already running 1st and 2nd. Over the next two miles, Langat would increase his lead by about 30 seconds. Kirwa was able to close in the last mile to cut his teammate's lead to a 16 second gap. Both gentlemen were very excited to produce the first 1-2 finish for Northwest Tech Cross Country.
Finishing in 52nd place for the Mavericks was Freshman Sean Conness (CA, Wakeeney, KS). Conness ran his race in 34:58.68 and finished in 3rd for the team. He had a simple goal of finishing the race comfortably. Conness has been somewhat under the weather recently, and his overall health was of main concern. However, sitting out a week was not in the cards for him. He wanted to compete, but felt it necessary to dial it down a bit.
Although the official temperature at race time was 83 degrees, the south wind of 10-15 mph made it seem much hotter than it truly was. This course is run primarily on a nature trail so it features a lot of trees and shade. The times that the athletes run near the shoreline of the lake, the ground is very soft and sandy. This course provides a lot of unique challenges to both the athletes and the coaches…it is not a very coach/spectator friendly course.
"We are looking forward to building on the momentum of this meet. We will be joined by some new faces and expect to run a full men's team. There will be a lot of great competition and we hope for it to bring out the best in us. This is one of the only races started by a cannon! Please come join us!"
The Mavericks are in action again on Saturday, October 7th at the FHSU Open at Sand Plum in Victoria, KS. The women's race is at 8:45 am and men's race is at 9:20 am (Central Time).