Runners battle altitude to finish strong

Runners battle altitude to finish strong

Running at unfamiliar elevation, the Colby Community College men's and women's cross country teams turned in a strong outing Saturday at the Colorado College Invite in Colorado Springs, Colo., as both teams finished fourth overall.

"The team knew going in that I was challenging them in more ways than one," said coach Cameron Rieth. "Running at 6,000 feet of elevation is not easy, but I thought we had some solid performances among a couple of top ten Division II programs that have the luxury of training at altitude." 

The women were led by Winnie Kibet, who finished fourth out of 87 runners on the 6K course, with a time of 23:01.60. Aileen Gurrola ran a 24:43.60, good for 20th. Other runners were Sharon Kimutai (24:59.80), Jessica Gamez-Ramos (25:06.70), MacKenzie Dill (26:02.70), Allison Hiatt (26:25.50), Trizer Wangari (26:45.80), Jessenia Ixta (27:12.40), Gaven Murphy (27:46.90) and Erika Alvarado (29:11.80).

"We are really excited about all our girls' potential," Rieth said. "But especially for freshmen, Aileen Gurrola and Jessica Gamez-Ramos. They bring exactly what we are looking for as far as having killer work ethics and a competitive fire that burns hot. Mack also stepped up as a solid fifth runner this meet as well. We have several others that can fill that spot, but time will tell if we can close the gap."

For the second straight week the men were paced by Oscar Leyva with a time of 27:06.30.

"Oscar has grown so much in the year he's been at Colby," Rieth said. "He's very coachable and is willing to work hard and listen. He's going to have a bright future." 

Emmanuel Kipngetich was the second Trojan to cross the line at 27:35.90. Iley Bruce (27:54.60), Austin Russell (28:18.10), Caleb Carrassco (28:49.30), Mauro Arancibia (28:56.90), Tito Gonzalez (29:25.40) and Bobby Silva (30:06.10) also contributed to the Trojans on the 8K course.

"As a team, we have a large gap that will need to be closed," Rieth concluded. "These guys are hungry and I believe we have the runners to do that before the end of the year."

Both Trojan teams will train for three weeks before resuming competition at the Oklahoma state Jamboree on September 30.