The Conquistador men’s and women’s teams competed this past weekend at the Ft. Hays State University Tiger Open held at the Sand Plum Nature Trail, Victoria, Kansas. “This was our largest meet of the year thus far with 168 competitors on women’s side and 226 men”, commented Coach Smith. “Having the opportunity to compete against 4 year schools in one of the many unique qualities the sport of cross country offers these athletes. When they step up to the line they may have a Junior College team on their right and a University team to their left. I love this dynamic for our athletes as it is exposes their true abilities. It also offers our runners the chance to be seen and recruited by four year schools enabling them to continue their higher education.”
All of the Conquistador men ran personal bests with freshman Anthony La Tour leading the pack with a time of 27:46.50, almost one minute faster than his previous personal best of 27:46. Jonathan Rendon finished with a time of 28:59.6 improving his personal best by over 1 minute. Also making huge strides for the Conqs was freshman Dalton Bray with a time of 29:49 improving on his season opening time of 32:28 by over two minutes. “Our freshmen men have done an excellent job supporting one another and encouraging each other to exceed their own expectations of themselves during practice and competition alike”, Smith stated. “I am proud of each of them for mentally and physically stepping up to the next level and am excited to continue to be a part of their journey as they continue to grow and excel in their abilities”.
On the women’s side freshman Bianca Loza led the Conqs with a time of 20:11. While not a personal best, Loza’s time earned her a spot in the top half “which is outstanding considering these girls competed against Universities such as the Air Force, Colorado State University-Pueblo, University of Nebraska-Kearney and Fort Hays State just to name a few” Smith added. Freshman Tera McVicker and Sophomore Sydney Hudson also stepped up their game for the Lady Conqs, both turning in personal record times by almost a minute each. “As a whole these women are putting in the hard work and dedication it takes to be a top team in this conference. We have had a few ups and downs with a couple injuries over the past several weeks yet these girls are tough, and are not about to allow injuries to keep them from competing for a Conference title”, Smith stated.
The Conqs head to Butler this Friday, October 18th before competing for a conference title at the Region 6 meet hosted by Hutchinson Community College on October 28th.