If their first week of action is any indication of coming season, the El Paso Community College cross country teams are both in for special seasons.
Claudia Del Hierro / EPCC Athletics
The five EPCC cross country runners who finished in the top 10 at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational last Friday were (L-R) Shalet Mitei, Kelli Kirkpatrick, Elias Villegas-Ponce, Damaris Jepkorir and Rose Jebet.
Both the men’s and women’s EPCC cross country squads had impressive showings at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational, last Saturday.
The meet, held at the Chamizal National Memorial Park, saw the Tejanos and Tejanas each place second behind the event winners, UTEP.
The second place finishes mean that both the men and women placed ahead of third-place New Mexico State University.
In the women’s competition, UTEP won with a team total of 21 points, followed by EPCC’s 35 and NMSU’s 69.
UTEP’s Gladys Jerotich won the individual title with a time of 17:49.01.
The Tejanas placed four runners in the top 10, led by Rose Jebet, who finished third with a time of 17:59.00.
The other top 10 EPCC finishers were Kelli Kirkpatrick (fifth) with a time of 18:04.01, Shalet Mitei (seventh, 18:38.00) and Damaris Jepkorir (ninth, 18:56.00).
The five other EPCC runners were Ocean Stevens, who finished 11th with a time of 19:08.01, Sholly Jeruto (13th, 19:28.00), Karla Enriquez (17th, 20:27.01, Michelle Renteria (18th, 20:30.01) and Brianna Armendariz (20th, 22:40.00).
On the men’s side, UTEP won the team title with a score of 17 points, followed by EPCC’s 47 and NMSU’s 57.
UTEP’s Anthony Kosgei took the individual honors with a time of 19:09.00.
Pacing EPCC was Elias Villegas-Ponce, who finished seventh with a time of 21:21.01. Villegas-Ponce was the only Tejano runner who finished in the top 10.
Rounding out the EPCC men’s squad was Michael Flores, who finished 11th with a time of 22:08.00, Sammy Rono (12th, 22:13.00), John Sandoval (15th, 22:37.01), Juan Vasquez (16th, 22:47.00), Evan Gerdez (18th, 23:42.01), Brian Rowley (20th, 25:19.00) and Adrian Saldivar (21st, 26:29.00).
Next up for the EPCC teams is the Kachina Cross County Open this Saturday, Sept. 17 in Las Cruces.
The same three teams, EPCC, UTEP and NMSU are scheduled to compete in the event on the NMSU campus.
The men’s race (7K) will get underway at 8 a.m., while the women (5K) begin at 8:45.