The Trinidad State cross country teams traveled to Colorado Springs this past weekend for the Colorado College Invitational, complete with a plethora of strong cross country programs. Both squads had great performances from a number of individuals, leading to a big win for the mens team.
At 8:30AM Saturday morning 99 men from 2-year and 4-year schools around the region took off through Monument Valley Park to compete over 8 kilometers. The first half mile saw a host of Trojans at the front of the pack, behind eventual race winner Wesley Banguria of Colby Community College, before settling just behind a few unattached runners (representing no team) for the first half of the race. With 3 kilometers left in the race Trojans Felix Kemei and Miguel Coca made a push to pull away from the pack of unattached runners. Kemei pulled away to finish 2nd, ten seconds ahead of 3rd place. Miguel Coca and Devin Paredes finished 5th and 8th respectively to give the Trojans three runners ahead of most teams first. After running most of the race together Bailey Smith and Micah Stanton finished 27th and 28th respectively to round out Trinidad State's scoring 5 runners, and solidify the team victory.
The Trojans finished in first place with 48 points. Adams State (2nd), MSU-Denver (3rd), Colorado College (4th), and CSU-Pueblo (5th) completed the top five placing teams. "Our guys really raced well today," said Coach Lauren Masterson. "A few of our guys were a little under the weather, and few didn't run as well as they would have liked last week. I put pressure on those guys to step up and get the job done for their team regardless of how they felt." Even with such a big win Coach Masterson is not ready to let the team rest on their laurels, saying, "We are in a good position at this point in the season, but we need to keep getting better. There's a lot of work to be done before Nationals."
At 9:30 the women's race began with 68 runners from eight different teams. The majority of the race was led by a runner from Adams State. Sheilah Cheruiyot and Ashlee Ferarri started out toward the front of the pack with Mary Baldwin not far behind. Cheruiyot stayed near the front of the pack for the entirety of the 6k race, going back and forth with a pack of Adams State and unattached runners. Cheruiyot finished 9th in a time of 24:05. Ashlee Ferarri and Mary Baldwin finished in 38th and 43rd place respectively with times of 26:19 and 26:33. This is the first time the Trojan ladies have competed over the 6k distance, as they usually race 5k. Nonetheless, Coach Masterson felt this was a strong showing for the ladies saying, "Our ladies ran great today. Sheilah competed very well at the front of the pack. Ashlee continues to show toughness as she improves over distances she's still learning. And Mary did a great job in a more training type of effort, as she's still building back up from hip surgery. These ladies are going to surprise some people later in the year."
The Trojan ladies will field a team of 3 for their next race October 12th before fielding a full team for the Regional and National Championships. Both teams will be back in action October 12th at Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs. This coming Wednesday will be the first release of the USTFCCCA National Rankings.