By Steve Holt, Opinion Editor
In their first action of the season, the men’s and women’s cross country teams were both victorious on Friday at the ACU Classic at Sherrod Park. The men’s team swept the competition, as the top five runners placed in the top five spots in the race.
Bernard Manirakiza was the top Wildcat and the race’s winner for the second year in a row, with a time of 20:50.79 over the four-mile course. John Kemboi placed second in 20:51.01, followed by Arthe-mon Sindayigaya (20:53.72), Alfred Rugema (20:55.07) and Martin O’Kello (21:00.43). Nick Branen was seventh for the Wildcats in 21:21.06, and Justin Thompson placed 17th in 23:28.98.
“This first competition, I wanted to see how far I’ve come in my training because I feel a little bit behind,” Kemboi said. “The way I ran today in the race-it was good.”
ACU won the meet easily, while Northwood placed second with 68 points and South Plains College tallied 72 points.
The ACU women won a closer battle with 42 points, edging out South Plains’ 58 points and Northwood’s 74 points.
Sophomore Cassie Chaffin was the top Wildcat for the second consecutive year, placing third. Angie Waters followed Chaffin in fifth place, while Abbie Waters placed seventh. Other Wildcat finishers included Amie Lindley (12th) and Mollye Stanford (15th).
Chaffin said she just did what she always tries to do-her best.
“My goal is always to give that meet my best shot,” Chaffin said. “Team-wise, we wanted to win it, and we did. So that’s great.”
Both ACU cross country teams will return to action Saturday at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo.