New year. New team. Similar results.
The South Plains College men's and women's cross country teams opened up the 2016 season in stellar fashion on Friday night, as the Texans and Lady Texans swept the field at the Bill Libby Cross Country Invitational on the campus of McMurry University in Abilene.
The Texans took the top spot among eight teams, placing six runners inside the top 10, including four runners inside the top five. Felix Kosgei led the way for the Texans in the men's 5K, finishing with a final time of 14:43, with Jose Silva placing second for South Plains with his time of 15:09.
Omero Rodriguez would then cross the finish line at the 15:15 mark, good enough for third, while Nicholas Rotich finished fourth with his final mark of 15:43. Deric Martinez and Connor Hughes would round out the top 10 for South Plains with their final times of 16:03 and 16:15, respectively.
The Texans finished with a final total time of 1:16:53, with a 15:22.60 overall average. Angelo State University would take second in the meet, with Ranger College, McMurry University and Odessa College rounding out the top five.
The Lady Texans were just as impressive in the women's 5K, as South Plains placed three runners inside the top 10, and two inside the top five. The Lady Texans' Seselia Dala took first overall after finishing with a final time of 18:53, with Leslie Romero placing second overall for South Plains with her time of 19:15.
Poro Gahekave crossed the finish line at the 19:59 mark, good enough for seventh for the Lady Texans, while Lubbock native Caitlyn Mercer finished 15th with her final time of 21:19. The Lady Texans finished nearly 20-points ahead of second place finishers McMurry University, while Ranger College and Angelo State University rounded out the top four.
"I'm just really proud of our kids for the way they went out and competed," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "They went out there and really pushed the pace, and this was a great way to start our season."
South Plains will be back in action on Sept. 8 as they are set to travel to Lubbock for the 2016 Texas Tech Open at the Rawls Course beginning at 8 a.m.