Kosgei, Romero earn top finishes at New Mexico Highlands Cross Country Jam

Kosgei, Romero earn top finishes at New Mexico Highlands Cross Country Jam

LAS VEGAS, NM—For the third time in as many weeks, the South Plains College Texan cross country team captured its third consecutive first-place finish on Saturday at the New Mexico Highlands Cross Country Jam.

South Plains placed four runners inside the top five and six inside the top 10. The Texans were once again led by sophomore standout Felix Kosgei who earned his third straight top finish with a mark of 24:36 in the men's 8k. Freshmen Andrew Bosquez and Filmon Beyene finished second and third for the Texans with times of 25:10 and 25:17, respectively.

The Texans' Benjamin Ronoh, a freshman from Eldoret, Kenya placed fifth with a mark of 26:00, while Jesse Madrid and Erick Arambula placed sixth and seventh with their times of 26:10 and 26:14, respectively.

"Felix really put on a show today and the rest of our guys competed extremely well," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "We put most of our guys in the top 10 and they went out and competed very well. This was a tough course but they went out and competed and showed what they're about."

Despite competing with just four runners and unable to place in the final team results, the Lady Texans swept the top three positions and placed all four runners inside the top 11. Leslie Romero, a sophomore from Houston earned her first collegiate victory in the women's 5k with a final mark of 19:09. South Plains' Poro Gahekave and Seselia Dala were the next two runners to cross the finish line with times of 19:40 and 19:47, respectively. Lubbock native Caitlyn Mercer earned a 11th place finish with a time of 20:52.

"Unfortunately, our fifth runner was out this week with some injury issues that we think will be just fine, and we thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and rest her today," Vance said. "We only ran with four, but those four ran outstanding. Leslie had her first ever collegiate win, and she was able to take the lead and hold onto it the rest of the way."

South Plains will be back on the course when they travel to Hobbs for the New Mexico Junior College Open on Friday, Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. MST.