Colby Community College runners Oscar Leyva and Winnie Kibet finished first in their respective races as the men's cross country team finished first and the women second at the Colby Trojan Invitational on September 1.
"I was pleased with the opening of the season," said coach Cameron Rieth. "Our home course is not very fast, and the runners are easily 25 to 30 seconds fitter than what the results show."
Kibet, a 2016 All-American, ran the course in 18:19.63. Garden City's Sandra Szpott finished in 18:41.35, and Colby's Sharon Kimutai was on her heels for third at 19:46.58. Other Trojans competing were Aileen Gurrola (20:42.25), Jessica Gamez-Ramos (20:47.34), MacKenzie Dill (20:48.99), Jess Ixta (20:50.60), Trizer Wangari (22:00.42), Emily Westeman (22:39.14), Celeena Holt (22:40.86), Allison Hiatt (22:42.82), Gaven Murphy (22:53.41) and Erika Alvarado (23:26.73). Overall Colby finished with 33 points, just two behind Hastings College.
"Winnie had a great run out front by herself for most of the race to get the win. We have a big pack of girls in the middle that are looking great, but just need to move the entire pack closer to the front of the race. The girls battled a very competitive girls team from Hastings and only lost by a couple of points. That is a great thing to build on."
The Trojan men took the first four spots, led by Leyva's 16:09.39. Emmanuel Kipngtich (16:13.52) was second, followed by Iley Bruce (16:28.69) and Caleb Carrasco (17:07.60). Tito Gonzalez (17:24.30), Mauro Arancibia (18:13.99), Austin Russell (18:15.12), Bobby Silva (18:16.60) and Stephen Lott (19.56.57) helped the Trojans earn 16 points, just one point from a perfect score.
"I was extremely pleased with how we ran as a team," Rieth said. "Oscar Leyva and Iley Bruce showed great sophomore leadership, and Emmanuel Kipngetich ran out of his mind. He really surprised us all. We will need to get a few runners in the back half closer to the front before the end of the season, which I believe they are capable of doing."
Both Trojan teams run again Saturday in Colorado Springs at the Joe Vigil open.