Tabor cross-country team battles altitude, opponents in Colorado

The Tabor College women’s cross-country team placed fourth at the Colorado College Invitational Saturday in Colorado Springs.

Running its first full-distance race of the season, the team rolled up 133 points to finish only 28 points behind the champs, Cloud County Community College.

Angie Jost paced the women by finishing 13th in 20:41. She was followed by teammates Karen Patton (16th, 20:50), Emily Aldis (37th, 22:14), Erin Voth (49th, 23:36), Sarah Frick (57th, 24:36), Esther Richert (60th, 24:45) and Tia Akers (66th, 25:40).

“Patton ran a really strong race, breaking 21 minutes for the first time in four tries in Colorado,” coach Karol Hunt said.

She said Voth trimmed 1:10 off her time from a year ago. Frick, who rounded out the scoring, and Richert each improved by almost two minutes.

For the men, Kevin Nickel was the highest finisher, placing 28th in a time of 29:26. He was followed by Ryan Sperling (52nd, 31:25), Matt Lynam (56th, 32:25) and Will Higerd (35:03).

Nickel’s finish was his highest in four attempts at this meet and it marked the first time he broke 30 minutes. Sperling improved by about 30 seconds from 2001.

“We ran well for this early in the season, and running at 6,000 feet when we have been training at 1,400 feet is not the easiest,” Hunt said. “It’s good to see the improvement of the returning runners.”

The Bluejays’ next meet will be Friday at Rice Park in Hutchinson. The relay event will be hosted by Hutchinson Community College and is set to start at 4 p.m.

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