LEVELLAND—The South Plains College men's and women's cross country teams will return to action on Friday when they travel to Hobbs, NM for the New Mexico Junior College Open beginning at 5 p.m. MST.
The Texans will look to pick up their fourth consecutive victory in the men's 8k, led by sophomore All-American Felix Kosgei. The Lady Texans' veteran squad of Leslie Romero, Poro Gahekave, Seselia Dala and Caitlyn Mercer continue to make their claim as one of the top women's teams in the country.
Last time out:
South Plains placed four runners inside the top five and six inside the top 10 at the New Mexico Highlands Cross Country Jam. Kosgei placed first for the third time in as many weeks with a mark of 24:36 in the men's 8k. Freshmen Andrew Bosquez and Filmon Beyene finished second and third with times of 25:10 and 25:17, respectively.
South Plains' Benjamin Ronoh, a freshman from Eldoret, Kenya placed fifth with a mark of 26:00, while Jesse Madrid and Erick Arambula placed sixth and seventh with their times of 26:10 and 26:14, respectively.
"Our guys just seem to go out and put the hammer down every week," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "They push each other, and we've had a different finish order just about every week. I definitely think day in and day out in practice they are forcing each other to get better, because they know if they don't they won't be where they want to be."
The Lady Texans swept the top three positions and placed all four runners inside the top 11 in the women's 5k a week ago. Romero, a sophomore from Houston earned her first collegiate victory in the women's 5k with a final mark of 19:09. Gahekave and Dala were the next two runners to cross the finish line with times of 19:40 and 19:47, respectively. Mercer earned a 11th place finish with a time of 20:52.
"Leslie is starting to get there, and when you win a race your confidence level starts to go up," South Plains assistant coach Frank Barker said. "So, I really think all of our girls including Leslie are going to be running very well from here on out."
South Plains head coach Erik Vance and assistant Frank Barker preview the NMJC Open: