by JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor
The South Plains College men’s and women’s cross country teams had a tough challenge to overcome while competing against the largest group of runners they have seen this year.
The teams traveled to Fort Dodge, Iowa, to compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s National Cross Country Championships on Nov. 14.
The men’s team finished third overall at the national meet after posting a team score of 88 points and an overall time of 2:08:56.
Iowa Central took home the trophy after placing first at the meet, outscoring SPC by 32 points with a final score of 56 and overall team time of 2:06:57.
Central Arizona College placed second in the men’s championship race, topping SPC by the slim margin of two points and finishing with a team score of 86 and an overall time of 2:08:00.
Sophomore Hassan Abdi was the first runner to cross the finish line for the Texans. Abdi completed the 8,000-meter course in a time of 24:58.43, placing fifth overall at the meet.
Sophomore Kelvin Keter came in just a few seconds behind Abdi, finishing with a time of 25:10.10 and placing seventh overall. Both Abdi and Keter earned All-American honors for their efforts as well.
The third runner to finish for the Texans was freshman Nicholas Rotich, who clocked in with a time of 25:58.06.
The final two runners to score for the Texans were freshmen Atem Akok and Jose Silva, who finished the race with times of 26:22.10 and 26:26.32, respectively, placing 27th and 33rd overall.
The Lady Texans ran hard in the women’s race but fell short at the championship, finishing 14th overall in the team standings with a score of 497 points and a combined time of 1:44:24.
Lansing Community College was named national champion after finishing first overall with a time of 1:35:46 and a team score of 92 points.
Iowa Central placed second in the team standings with a score of 135 points and a time of 1:35:10.
Central Arizona College placed third with 193 points and a time of 1:38:29.
The first to finish the 5,000-meter course for the SPC women was freshman Sasha-Gay Whyte, who crossed the finish line in a time of 19:49.7 and finished 38th overall.
The next runner to finish for SPC was sophomore Kassidi Jones, who finished 95th overall with a time of 20:48.2.
Freshmen Megan Kinsey and Dominique Williams placed 107th and 116th overall, respectively, with times of 20:58.9 and 21:11.3.
The final runner to score for the SPC women was freshman Mya Perez, posting a time of 21:35.55 and finishing 141st overall.
The SPC men’s and women’s cross country teams were back in action at home in Levelland, on Nov. 21, competing in the NJCAA National Half-Marathon Championship. The men will be looking to capture their second consecutive Half-Marathon championship. Results were not available at press time.