Trinidad State Trojans compete in cross-country, half marathon national championships, bring home Athletes, Coach of the Year Awards
Trinidad & Valley Campus / December 14, 2020 / Finn M. Warner, Correspondent, The Chronicle-News
On Saturday, November 14, 2020 the Trinidad State Trojans competed in the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) cross-county championships.
In its fourth year of revitalization the TSJC cross country program, made waves in the 2020 season.
TSJC Head Coach Lauren Masterson said, “In the half marathon we have a little bit of an advantage, I have the kids do long runs — between 12 and 18 miles — on Saturday, every week. Them being at altitude it really does give them a boost when they come down to run.”
In preparation for meets Masterson has her athletes run between 50-70 miles/week, balanced with their school workload and recovery.
Following two cross country individual and team region titles Sharon Jesang and Micah Stanton were named Western Region Athletes of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Head Coach Lauren Masterson was named the men’s cross-country coach of the year by the USTFCCCA following the two region titles.
“I feel like we have a top notch training system, it’s not anything crazy; if a coach from another program looked at our training they would be like, ‘okay there is no real secret in there.’,” said Assistant Coach Kyle Masterson, “But maybe just the way we do a couple small things and the consistency which we expect our team to perform at a high level gets us over the line.”
Men’s cross-country finishes sixth
The TSJC Men’s cross-country team finished their 8-kilometer (5-mile) race at the National cross country meet just outside of the podium at sixth.
Lead by sophomore, Micah Stanton and his seventh-place finish, the Trojans finished the cross-country competition with 184 points.
With two top-10 finishes Stanton paved the way at seventh place in 25:41.31, followed by 10th place Thomas Termote and his 25:53.02 time in the 8-kilometer.
Both Termote and Stanton’s top-10 finishes award them All-American second team cross-country honors. The Trojans top three times was rounded out by Andy Setser who claimed the 30th place of the 150 runners who took to the course for the cross country meet.
Trojans, Ethan Coyhis, Alejandro Salazar, Conner Dosmann and Joshua Dean all took to the course and finished the race for the Trojans.
“The men did a great job just continually moving forward and refusing to give an inch. Every one of our guys finished much higher than they started,” said Masterson, “We planned to capitalize on other teams’ fatigue in those late stages of the race, and the men executed perfectly.”
Trinidad State men’s team finishes fourth in the half marathon at nationals
The Trojans finished fourth in the half marathon, trailing the third place North Iowa Area Community College by three points.
Micah Stanton was at the forefront of the TSJC team finishing fifth in the 13.1-mile race, in 1:09:55.00 securing his spot in the half marathon All-American first team.
Felix Kenei followed Stanton as the second finisher for the Trojans collecting the 12th place finish, running a 1:12:18.80.
Andy Setser completed the top three for the Trojans finishing 21st, one spot ahead of teammate Aldo Zavala. “I am very pleased with the men’s races,” said Masterson. “Micah really asserted himself and raced fearlessly. Felix suffered an injury, but I applaud his toughness to run over ten hard miles on a significant injury. Andy and Aldo made me proud. They’ve both really improved throughout the year and have put a cherry on top of their seasons.”
Lady Trojans finish eighth in cross-country nationals
The Women’s cross-country team kicked off the National Championships at 9:30 a.m. in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Sheilah Cheruiyot lead the Lady Trojan’s 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) cross-country team finishing in 19:10.26, which gave her the sixth-place finish.
Sharon Jesang followed up for the Trojans finishing ninth. Her 19:31.96 time in the 5-kilometer secured her place with Cheruiyot in the All-American second team for cross-country.
Ashley Lagat rounded out the top three finishers for the Trojans at nineteenth. Ashlee Ferrari and Jayceen Booth also took to the course for the Lady Trojan’s cross-country team.
Head Coach Lauren Masterson said, “Ashlee (Ferrari) and Jayceen (Booth), who both come from sprint backgrounds have shown that they’re simply great athletes who can come through when their team needs them.”
The TSJC Trojans Women’s cross country team finished the meet in eighth place with 184 points, just three points behind the seventh place Hutchinson Community College.
“I’m very proud of our ladies for getting eighth place. This year has been a challenge for everyone. They took this opportunity and made the best of it,” said Masterson.