BLUE DRAGON WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Terry Masterson Twilight Classic
When: Friday, August 31, 2018
Where: Fun Valley, Hutchinson, KS
Women's Race: 8:30 p.m.
Men's Race: 9:05 p.m.
Parking: Main Fun Valley lot on west side of complex.
Admission: Free to public
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
The 2017 women's cross country season was a breakthrough-type campaign at Hutchinson Community College.
Ranked in every national poll for the first time since the national championship season of 2001, the 2017 Blue Dragons finished fifth at Region VI and 18th in the NJCAA Championships, which matched their national ranking.
Eight runners return from that 2017 team, including three runners who were consistently in the top five Blue Dragon runners. Add to that, the first international runner since Ruth Limo to run for the Blue Dragons and fourth-year head coach Justin Riggs thinks of the possibilities for the 2018 Blue Dragon women.
"We have some really good sophomores coming back," Riggs said. "We've been going since August 1st, so we are really looking forward to getting the season started Friday night. The kids are getting antsy to get things going."
Friday night is the season-opening Terry Masterson Twilight Classic at Fun Valley. The women's race begins at 8:30 p.m. and the men's race about 9:05 p.m. This will be Hutchinson's only home meet of 2018.
Riggs will have to replace 2017's top runner in Maggie Lambert, who had the second-fastest 5K time in team history during her career.
But three runners return who were consistent scorers for the Dragons in 2017.
Patteson finished 106th at the NJCAA Championships last season with a time of 20:18.3. Garcia was 109th in a career-best time of 20:20.
Gomez, who saw a strong start to her freshman season slowed by injuries, finished 195th in 21:37.4. Before the injury, Gomez's best time was 19:35.
Riggs is hoping that Ewoi will give the 2018 Blue Dragons a front-pack presence this season.
"With some of the new rules, it's easier to recruit some international talent," Riggs said. "We are hoping those three kids (including Hutch men's runners Sylvestre Kibarar and Andrew Kibet) can be front runners. We've had good teams the last few years, but never had a runner up front in the race. That will help us climb in the team standings this year."
The Blue Dragons will run in five regular-season meets in 2018. After the Masterson Classic, the Dragons travel to Missouri Southern Stampede on September 15, Emporia State on October 6, and Fort Hays State on October 25 before heading to Winfield for the Region VI Championships on October 27.