Saturday was a special day for the Hutchinson Community College cross country teams just for the fact that for the first time, they played host to the Blue Dragon Invitational on a true cross country course – the brand new Westar Energy/Prairie Ridge Park.
The day went and got even better, despite the cloudy, drizzly conditions, when the announcement was made that the Blue Dragons captured the inaugural men’s “Romp at the Ridge” team championship.
Freshmen Oberlin Rojas and John Murphy III set an incredible pace and finished second and third overall, respectively to lead the No. 11 nationally ranked Blue Dragons to the team title, outscoring team runner-up Fort Hays State 19-37. Four Blue Dragons placed in the overall Top 10. Dodge City was third and Pratt was fourth.
Rojas and Murphy were running neck-and-neck for most of the 8K race. Rojas pulled away late to finish second overall with a time of 27 minutes, 3 seconds. Murphy was third overall at 27:09.
Sophomore Isaac Williams was HCC’s third runner to finish, placing with a time of 27:44.2.
Freshman Kevin Marks was the fourth Blue Dragon to place in the Top 10, taking eighth in 28:31.5. The fifth Blue Dragon to count in the team score was sophomore Zach Weber, who finished 11th in a time of 28:42.0.
HCC’s average time for all 11 runners was 27:49.9.
Unattached runner Robbie Mart-Garcia won the men’s individual title with a time of 26:57.6.
The Blue Dragon men will not run next weekend, but will next run at the Emporia State/Jock’s Niche Invitational on Friday, September 28 in Emporia.
(HCC Sports Information)