LC men victorious, women finish second at Warrior Invite
LEWISTON, Idaho – A drizzly morning on the banks of the Snake River made for a fast race at the annual Warrior Invite at Hells Gate State Park Saturday. Junior Kelsey Klettke’s LC record women’s 5-kilometer time and the men’s first place team finish highlighted the event for the Lewis-Clark State College cross country team.
The LC men, who ranked No. 15 in the most recent NAIA Cross Country top-25 Coaches’ poll, notched the victory by placing five runners in the top 10 scoring places. The Warriors’ 30 team points were enough to defeat second-place Great Falls (45), and third place Spokane Falls Community College (73).
Jimmy Oribo, a member of the LC team who ran unattached, won the men’s race in 25:03, followed by second-place finisher Anthony Brown of Spokane Falls CC, who completed the course in 25:10.
Sophomore Dave Marks finished third in 25:24 leading the charge for the Warriors. Marks continued his string of solid performances Saturday, as he has finished in the top-6 in each of his three races this season.
The No. 2 through No. 5 LC runners stacked within 37 seconds of each other. Fernando Esperanza, who ran alongside Marks most of the race, and Chris McConnell placed fifth and sixth overall, with times of 25:38 and 25:50, respectively. Sean Huey finished 10th in 26:09, closely followed by 11th-place finisher Jake Miller, who clocked in 26:15.
Freshman Hayden Randall made noise in the LC top-seven for the second consecutive week, finishing 17th overall (No. 6 for LC) in 26:32.
“We had guys really step up today,” LC coach Mike Collins said. “The gaps looked a lot better and we ran almost three minutes faster as a team on this course than last year. We know we’ve got a challenge coming up at conference and we want to win the automatic bid to nationals.”
The 23rd-ranked LC women finished second behind a dominating performance from Kelsey Klettke, who completed the course in 17:23 to record the best time in LC women’s cross country history. Klettke led all the way and finished 31 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Rhianna Grossman of Carroll College who earned a time of 17:54.
Behind Grossman’s performance, Carroll College notched the win in the women’s race with 24 points, slotting five runners in the top-seven. LCSC scored 41 points to finish second, and third-place Spokane Falls CC earned 88 points.
“We raced like we’ve been running all year,” Collins said. “We had a great pack, and our pack was close to their pack, but there is a little disappointment losing to Carroll.”
The No. 2 through No. 7 LC runners ran in a pack most of the way, finishing within 25 seconds of each other. Francis Rojas finished ninth overall in 18:44, Stephanie Shuel finished 10th in 18:48, Chelsey Leighton finished 12th in 18:56, Madison Randall finished 13th in 18:58, Shaelie Edwards finished 14th in 19:06 and Jessie Gulsvig finished 15th in 19:09.
“We have a lot of work to do the next two weeks,” Collins said. “We are in a good conference, but don’t want to wait until the Monday morning after conference championships to find out if we go to nationals. We know what we have to do and the girls are motivated.”
The Warriors now look ahead to the Frontier Conference Championships, which will be held Nov. 5 in Great Falls, Mont.