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ROSWELL, NM (November 4, 2015) — Halloween was anything but scary for the Ranger College men’s and women’s cross country teams. In fact, it was all treats as both squads turned in stellar outings at the 2015 Region V Cross Country Championships in Roswell, New Mexico, on Oct. 31. With their performances, both teams earned berths in the 2015 NJCAA National Cross Country Championships next week in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
“The depth of our teams are making a difference in their continued successes,” said Ranger College coach Kathy Graham. “Both the men and women did extremely well at the Region V meet.”
The RC men’s team turned in one of its stronger efforts of the season on the New Mexico Military Institute course. Competing without their top runner, the Rangers used a “group mentality” to excel. Ranger College men put five runners in the top 20 and sprinted to third in the final team standings.
South Plains College won the Region V championship with a total of 19 points. El Paso Community College finished second with 34, 29 points fewer than Ranger College. Western Texas and Odessa College rounded out the top five.
Nicholas Wittkopp paced the Rangers on the course. He raced his way to 13th in the individual standings by turning in a time of 27 minutes and 5 seconds.
Moises Montanez finished moments later, taking 16th overall with a mark of 27:33.
Sydney Leverett, James Ramos, Ruben Sandoval and Carlos Colon cemented Ranger College’s third-place finish from there. The four finished back-to-back-to-back-to-back, claiming 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st, respectively.
Isaac Gafishi also posted a top 25 mark for the Rangers. He was 25th at 29:15.
Graham said the team’s ability to step up after the loss of their top runner, freshman Amos Kipchumba, to injury was paramount for RC’s success.
“The fact the team is ranked No. 15 in the nation even after losing their No. 1 runner to a fractured leg says a lot about the heart and desire of this team,” she said.
Hassan Abdi netted the Region V men’s title. He highlighted a 1-2-3 finish by SPC runners by legging out a winning time of 14:28. Teammates Kevin Keter and Nicholas Rotich were second and third, respectively.
Even the Ranger College men’s team had to take a back seat to the efforts of Barbara Uribe in the women’s race. A freshman from Cherokee, Texas, she posted RC’s top individual effort in the meet by taking 10th in the women’s race.
Uribe earned all-conference honors by placing 10th with a time of 20:07.
Backer by her efforts, the Lady Rangers women finished fifth in the women’s standings. El Paso claimed the women’s Region V crown. EPCC edged out New Mexico Junior College and South Plains for the top spot. NMMI was fourth.
Uribe wasn’t the only Lady Ranger doing well in the race. Benisse Inamahoro and Sarah Hillman also legged out top 20 finishes. Inamahoro finished 14th in the final standings with a time of 20:32. Hillman was 20th at 21:29.
Lourdes Gonzalez, Amaranta Gamboa and Angok Tac also did well. The trio finished 24th, 25th and 26th, respectively, while Jayden Whitzel checked in at No. 32 with a time of 23:18.