FORT DODGE, IA — The South Plains College men's and women's cross country teams earned a pair of top 10 finishes on Saturday at the 2017 NJCAA Cross Country National Championships at the Lakeside Golf Couse.
The Texans placed third with a score of 147 and a final team average of 25:57. Iowa Central placed first with a score of 65 and a final team average of 25:25, followed by Central Arizona who finished second with a score of 112 and a team average of 25:49.
Sophomore All-American Felix Kosgei was the first Texan to cross the finish line at the 25:06.5 mark of the men's 8k, good enough for fifth place overall. Freshman Andrew Bosquez placed 13th with a time of 25:32.8 amongst 320 runners. Jessie Madrid finished 26th overall with a time of 26:01.9, and Filmon Beyene placed 32nd with a mark of 26:08.5.
"I'm extremely proud of this team and Felix really turned a corner this year and ran well," South Plains College head coach Erik Vance said. "To have a streak like he did where he won every meet he competed in and ran like he did today, I couldn't be prouder. The rest of our guys did a fantastic job developing as the year went on and pushed each other to get better each week. I thought they did exactly what they thought we would do and it sets us up well for what our cross country teams can do in the future.
The Lady Texans placed seventh in the women's 5k with a score of 288 and final team average of 19:21. Iowa Central placed first with a score of 52 and a team average of 18:21, followed by Central Arizona, Cowley County, Southern Idaho, Allen County and Colby Community College.
Sophomore Leslie Romero finished fourth for South Plains with a time of 17:59.6. Seselia Dala earned a ninth place finish with her time of 18:16.7 amongst 309 runners, while Poro Gahekave placed 22nd for the orange and blue with a time of 18:54.
"Our women ran fantastic and I couldn't be any happier with what they did," Vance said. "To go out and get a seventh place finish with a short-handed squad was extremely impressive. We put two in the top 10 and three inside the top 25, and this bunch of girls is as good as it gets and it's going to be extremely difficult to try and replace this group of girls next year."