Maddie Kruger is happy to be in Durango again.
And shes happy to be running for Fort Lewis College again.
Kruger, who transferred back to FLC after a one-year hiatus, led the Skyhawks at Fridays annual Tom Strandt Memorial Run, a part of the day-long Southwestern Cross Country Challenge.
She won the open womens division of the 6-kilometer race in 20 minutes, 19 seconds.
Im so glad to be back, said Kruger, a former prep standout at Lewis-Palmer High School. I love it here.
She received lots of cheers on the course that skirted the FLC campus.
Its definitely good to be back, she said.
Regan Mullen of Colorado Christian University won Fridays collegiate race in 19:16. Alyssa Carman and Alexis Work of FLC finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Skyhawks Katarina Medici was seventh in the small field of college racers.
Only FLC, Colorado Christian and Diné College of Arizona participated in Fridays races.
Jimmy Mohrbacher of FLC won the collegiate mens race in 27:41. They raced an 8-kilometer course that included gravel roads and singletrack trails.
Rusty Jones of Diné was second to Mohrbacher, with Dustin Abeita, also of Diné, third.
Garrett Sapakoff of FLC finished fourth (28:34).
Andrew Honyaktewa of Diné College won the open mens division Friday in 27:35. He finished just ahead of Parker Mildenhall, an assistant DHS cross country coach who is living and training this year in Durango.
The late afternoon race was a change for most of the collegians and open division runners, who are used to morning starts.
It is difficult, Kruger said. You have to worry about how much you eat all day and how much you hydrate.
She said the runners seemed to enjoy the course that featured tight turns in the singletrack sections.
Yes, there were a lot of right turns. But it wasnt too hilly. It was hard to pass on the (singletrack), Kruger said.
You had to be careful; there are a lot of rocks as well. But I think everyone did pretty well, she said.
In team scoring, Diné won the mens collegiate division, while FLC won the womens collegiate division. FLC finished second in the mens race. Diné finished second in the womens race and Colorado Christian third.