AUGUSTA – New Hutchinson Community College men’s cross country coach Rod Zook thought his freshmen runners had a chance to run well against some of the region’s top NCAA and NAIA runners on Saturday at the Wichita State/J.K. Gold Classic at Raft Golf Course.
Freshman runners Oberlin Rojas and John Murphy III didn’t disappoint as they finished in the Top 40 and within 90 seconds of the top runners from Kansas State and Wichita State to lead the Blue Dragon men to a sixth-place finish in the University/College men’s division.
Of the seven junior college teams in the field, the Blue Dragon men placed second behind Allen.
Rojas placed 30th overall and was the fourth junior college runner to cross the finish line with a time of 20 minutes, 4.96 seconds over the men’s 6K course.
Murphy crossed the finish line in 36th overall with a time of 20:12.92. He was the seventh top junior college runner.
Sophomore Isaac Williams was the third Blue Dragon runner to finish. He took 43rd and was the 11th junior college runner to finish. Williams’ time was 20:29.91. Sophomore Zach Weber was 54th overall with a time of 20:45.71. He was the 14th top junior college runner. Freshman Kevin Marks was the other HCC runner to count in the team scoring. He was 68th overall and the 20th junior college runner to finish with a time of 21:02.10.
The top four runners for Hutchinson on Saturday all ran better times than HCC’s top placer at Wichita State in 2011.
HCC had three other runners in the field on Saturday. Freshman Jesse Lyle was 103rd (22:59.35), Halam Hernandez was 112th (23:29.08) and Mario Perez was 117th (23:46.46).
Wichita State won the men’s team championship with 33 points. NAIA power Oklahoma Baptist was second with 71. Allen was the top junior college team, placing fifth with 183 points. The Blue Dragons scored 207 points.
Hutchinson will be off next weekend as the Blue Dragons prepare for the Blue Dragon Invitational on Sept. 15 at their new home course, the Westar Energy/Prairie Ridge Course. Race time will be 10 a.m.
(HCC Sports Information)