EL DORADO, Kan. – For the fourth time in the last six seasons, the NIACC men’s cross country team placed in the top 10 at the NJCAA national cross country meet.
The Trojans, who entered the national meet ranked eighth, placed ninth at Saturday’s national meet with 380 points. Central Arizona claimed the men’s national title with 49 points.
Iowa Central was second with 62 points. Iowa Western was 14th with 421 points.
NIACC also placed in the top 10 at nationals in 2011 (4th), 2012 (5th) and 2014 (8th). It’s the ninth straight season the Trojans have placed in the top 15.
Sophomore Wal Khat led NIACC with a 17th place finish in 25 minutes, 41 seconds on the 8-kilometer course. He was the fourth men’s runner in NIACC school history to place in the top 20 at the national meet.
NIACC’s Imad Amenzou was 14th at last year’s national meet and Trent Smith placed was 11th in 2011 and 16th in 2012.
Other counting scores for the Trojans Saturday were Zach Freund (55th in 26:49), Blake Keller (81st in 27:15), Jose Aguilera (117th in 27:47) and Colby Kraninger (135th in 28:02).
Also running for the Trojans on Saturday were John Kraft (172nd in 28:26) and Nick Frenz (249th in 30:41).
The NIACC women, who were ranked 21st in the final poll before Saturday’s meet, placed 28th with 746 points. Lansing CC won the women’s meet with 103 points and Iowa Central was fourth with 111 points.
Sophomore Kendra Schmidt placed 107th in a time of 20:29 on the 5K course. Iowa Central’s Leanne Pompeani won her second straight national title in a time of 17:11.
Also for the Lady Trojans, Keisha Gonzague was 156th in 21:08, Amy Fullerton was 190th in 21:35, Guadalupe Diaz was 229th in 22:15 and Cassy Bonsall was 245th in 22:40.