(ALAMOSA, Colo.) – One meet into its second year of existence the improvement of the Trinidad State Cross Country program is already evident. Considering last year saw a pair of All-American runners for TSJC, that improvement is even more impressive. The Trojan team was on display for the first time this season at the 24th annual Joe I. Vigil meet at Cattails Golf Course in Alamosa, Colorado. Both men's and women's teams were competing against a pair of NCAA Division II heavyweights in Adams State and New Mexico Highlands. The young Trojans held their own in both races with the men finishing in third, only two points behind Highlands, and the women jumping past Highlands into second place. Top ranked ASU claimed both races with a perfect team score of 15.
The most visible improvement for the Trojans is the overall depth of the teams. While last year featured a few top runners, this year the Trojans are ready to compete as a team. The men were the first up with eight runners representing TSJC in the 8K race. Dan Haymes ran into the top-10 with a time of 25:48.1, over a minute and a half faster than his time in the same meet last season. Derek Holdsworth was the second Trojan across with a time of 26:53.2. John McMahon (28:07.9), Miguel Baltazar (28:53.1), Riley Allen (29:15.6) and Brandon Cardenas (29:22.9) all crossed within eight spots of each other.
Coach Masterson commented on the race, "The guys got off to a good start. We looked very strong up front. As the back of our pack continues to get in better shape and gain experience we will be tough to beat."
Adams State's Chandler Reid was the meet champion with a time of 24:38.6. Former Trojan, now Grizzly runner, Elias Gedyon was fifth in the race.
In the women's division freshman Toni Moore ran a personal best 18:35.5 in the 5K to claim the seventh spot. Margarita Jones finished 19th overall with a time of 20:48.2, nearly two-minutes faster than her time in this event last season. Maria Montes (21:13.4) and Benadine Chelimo (21:18.5) raced in together in 22nd and 23rd. ASU's Malena Grover claimed top spot with a time of 17:30.3.
"I was really pleased with Toni's performance," commented Masterson. "Early in the year we aren't very rested and don't expect fast times. However, Toni has already asserted herself as a force to be reckoned with. The rest of the ladies executed their races exactly as we wanted. They are going to get better and better. I'm very happy with their performances."
The Trojan teams will race again this weekend in Gunnison, Colorado at the 2017 Mountaineer Invitational. They will return to the Cattails Golf Course on October 28 as host of the 2017 Region IX Championships.