Jost, Patton lead Tabor cross country women to second place in KCAC

On the strength of solid performances from Angie Jost and Karen Patton, the Tabor College women placed second at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference meet Saturday at Kansas Wesleyan.

Jost placed third among 34 finishers in the 5-kilometer women’s race in a time of 19 minutes 54 seconds. Patton was right behind her in fourth place with a time of 20:27.

Both women earned All-KCAC honors on the basis of their finish.

Southwestern won the team title easily with 31 points. Tabor followed with 60, Friends 68, Sterling 89 and Ottawa 95.

KWU and McPherson also had runners competing.

“This was really exciting for the women’s program because second is our highest finish ever at the conference meet,” Bluejay coach Karol Hunt said. “Having runners who can place high in meets as well as having depth is key to competing well at the conference meet.”

Also competing for Tabor were Emily Aldis, who was 16th in 22:03, Tia Akers, 17th in 22:28, Esther Richert, 23rd in 22:40, Sarah Frick, 26th in 23:22, and Erin Voth, 28th in 23:50.

In the men’s competition, the Bluejays did not have enough runners to compete as a team, but Kevin Nickel earned All-KCAC status by placing 11th in a personal record time of 27:31 for the 8-kilometer distance.

“Kevin ran the race of his life today, the best of his four-year college career,” Hunt said. “His goal all season was to be all-conference and he achieved that. Kevin’s work ethic is among the top runners I have ever coached. It’s really satisfying to see Kevin be rewarded for all his patience and effort.”

Also competing for the men were Ryan Sperling, who placed 31st among 52 finishers in a season’s best 29:51, Matt Lyman, who was 44th in 31:25, and Will Higerd, who was 50th in 33:30.

“Even though we have the regional meet next Saturday, I view the conference meet as the most important one of the season,” Hunt said. “I was pleased with our efforts and performances. Our finishes definitely reflect the character of this group and how our workouts have gone throughout the season.”

For her efforts, Hunt was named the KCAC’s women’s cross country coach of the year.

The Jays will compete Saturday at the Region IV meet in Lincoln, Neb. The women will run at 10:30 a.m. and the men at 11:15. The regional meet is the qualifier for the NAIA national meet.

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