When first-year Hutchinson Community College cross country coach Rod Zook looked at his women’s roster and its chances to win the Blue Dragon Invitational on Saturday, he knew his third, fourth and fifth runners were going to make the difference.
Minus one sophomore in Taylor Stewart, who was injured, Zook told his team just that fact before the inaugural race at HCC Cross Country’s new home, the Westar Energy/Prairie Ridge Park on Saturday morning.
Turns out Zook was right on the money.
HCC’s fifth runner, sophomore Shanna Prescott defeated McPherson College’s fifth runner Miranda Clark by two places, just the difference Hutchinson needed to win the “Romp at the Ridge” 27-29.
Running the college tradition 5K distance for the first time this season, HCC was led by a pair of freshmen in Cecilia Lane and Ashlyn Lambert.
Lane, who was HCC’s No. 2 runner two weeks ago at Wichita State, paced the Lady Dragons on Saturday with a fifth-place overall finish in a time of 20 minutes, 51.3 seconds. Lambert placed seventh overall with a time of 21:33.3.
Sophomore Diosha Johnson finished 13th overall in a time of 22:21.9. Freshman Melissa Miller was 17th in 23:47.1 and Prescott’s critical 18th-place finish came in a time of 24:07.5.
Sophomore Rebekah Sweet finished 21st in 24:27.7. The Lady Dragons’ average time was 22:32.2.
Unattached runner Kayla Deighan won the inaugural Romp at the Ridge, setting a course-record time of 19:42.4. A pair of Butler Community College runners, Fiona Masai and Abaine Coloimore finished second and third, respectively. Unattached runner Ashley Huizar was fourth.
The race was ran in a light drizzled that began about five minutes into the race.
The Lady Dragons will next compete at the Tabor College Invitational next Saturday at Harvey Park East Lake in Newton. The HCC men’s team will not run in this event.
(HCC Sports Information)