It was the kind of day Fort Lewis College men’s cross-country coach Joshua Coon had looked forward to since he started with the Skyhawks program more than three years ago.
The Skyhawks took first place in a six-team meet Friday in Canyon, Texas. The Skyhawks scored 28 points with five placers in the top 10 to run away with the victory at the West Texas A&M Buffalo Stampede. Wayland Baptist was second with 66 points, Trinidad State Junior College was third with 72 points, and Lubbock Christian University was fourth with 88.
“We had a quality outing today,” Coon said. “The team won the race, we didn’t kill ourselves, and we are progressing to be where we want to be for the (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships) in two weeks. It was a solid race. We had hoped for a few more Lone Star (Conference) teams, but every chance you get to the line is a gift and opportunity this year.”
Dennis Kiptoo of Wayland Baptist won the men’s 8-kilometer race in 26 minutes, 10 seconds. FLC’s Steven Nez was second in 26:52, followed by John Ngaruiya in third in 27:18.
Also for FLC, Ricardo Trejo was sixth in 27:33; Cody Speece, a Bayfield High alum, was eighth in 27:47; and Elvis Chelak was ninth in 27:55.
The women’s 5K was won by UC-Colorado Springs runner Hannah Ellis in 18:23. Two more UCCS runners followed behind her. FLC was led by Makiah Salzano in fourth in 19:03.
UCCS won the women’s race with 17 points. FLC was second with 50, and Lubbock Christian was third with 98 points.
Also for FLC, Alisia Honyumptewa was 12th in 19:34, Angel Curley was 16th in 19:51, Krista Benze placed 18th in 20:10, Karla DeLaCruz was 21st in 20:43, and Dorothy Elder was 22nd in 20:44.
“Great warmup for RMAC,” FLC women’s coach Brett Sublett said. “Women were understandably excited and grateful for an opportunity to race. It’s been such a strange season. We will fine-tune some things before the conference championships, but today was a good indicator that we are headed in the right direction.”
FLC will hope to finish in the top six at the RMAC championships and qualify for the national invitational in Lubbock, Texas. That event is taking the place of a traditional NCAA Division II regional or national championship in a year in which COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of NCAA championship events for fall sports.