(FORT DODGE, Iowa) – The second season of cross country racing for Trinidad State concluded at the NJCAA National Meet in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The Trojan runners from both the men's and women's programs improved on their placing from the first year. This time the Trojan women placed eleventh overall, the men 16th overall and Trinidad had three All-American runners.
The women placed 27th in the nation at the 2016 NJCAA national meet in Kansas, but this season they jumped all the way into the eleventh spot. Coach Masterson commented "We had some trouble getting into good position early on, which led to a lot of wasted energy trying to get past big packs. However, our ladies really did a great job fighting the whole way and never settling. I'm proud of their effort here at Nationals, and throughout the whole season."
Led by freshman Toni Moore from Ireland, the Trojans climbed up the standings past teams that have been racing for years. Last year the team scored 728 points at the championship race, this year it was all the way down to 340, 14 points behind El Paso CC and a top-10 finish. Moore ran a time of 18:35.1 in the 5K to finished twelfth overall and was named All-American. Coach Masterson praised Moore, "Toni really did everything we hoped she would. National meets are high pressure and very competitive. Toni asserted herself at the front of the race from the beginning without hesitation. We couldn't have asked for a better young lady to be our program's first All-American."
In all, 310 women on 42 teams competed in the race. Also racing for the Trojans were Benadine Chelimo (47th - 19:29.5), Margarita Jones (84th - 20:01.4), Maria Montes (110th - 20:20.4), Brianna Corona (124th - 20:28.9), Winona Martin (167th - 21:03.4) and Vanessa Davis (180th - 21:15.9). Adva Cohen from Iowa Central won the race with a time of 17:24.4 and Iowa Central claimed the team title with 57 points.
The Trojan men came into this season with more depth, looking to improve on the 20th place finish in 2016. When the 8K was complete they had moved up to 16th overall scoring 452 points. "The men had similar struggles as the ladies, struggling to get into good position early on. But we can't be disappointed with improving upon last year's finish. We had some very good performances up front," commented Masterson.
Two Trojan runners, Daniel Haymes and Derek Holdsworth, were named All-American. Haymes, an All-American in 2016 as well, finished eleventh overall with a time of 25:25.7. Derek Holdsworth, a freshman from Williamsburg, Virginia crossed in 21st with a time of 25:57.5. "Dan and Derek really represented us well at the front of the race. Dan showed he's one of the best runners in the country by getting straight to the front and never giving an inch. Derek sat back a little bit, but did a great job closing the last mile."
The rest of the Trojan runners were Godfrey Chama (124th - 27:28.3), Riley Allen (127th - 27:29.7), Miguel Baltazar (185th - 28:15.2), Brandon Cardenas (200th - 28:28.3) and John McMahon (204th - 28:32.6). In total, 320 men on 44 teams competed in the men's race. Eric Fitzpatrick from the College of Southern Idaho won the individual title with a time of 24:44.0 and Iowa Central claimed the team title with 65 points.
The Cross Country season is now complete and the Trojans will begin to prepare for the Indoor Track and Field season. Their first competition is December 8 and 9 in Alamosa at the ASU Early Grizzly Open.