The Northwestern Oklahoma State University men and women’s cross-country teams competed in their final run of the season at the Great American Conference Championship in Magnolia, Arkansas.
Both teams did well with the men finishing sixth place overall and the women finishing ninth.
The Lady Rangers were led by junior Kayla Gourley who ran for a time of 21:15 and placed 39th overall. Freshman Kendy Salinas was not far behind Gourley, and clocked in a time of 21:23 which put her at a 42nd overall finish.
The Ranger men also had a successful weekend. The Rangers ran an average time of 29:50, which is three minutes faster than the team average last year. Junior transfer Clayton Fletcher led the Rangers on Saturday. Fletcher had been out for two weeks with an injury, but was able to compete and finished the run with a time of 28:36 and placed 28th overall.
Fletcher said his team had prepared for the run by logging their miles and doing speedwork. He said he and his team have improved throughout the season, and the times have progressed and gotten faster.
The Ranger men had many new faces this year. There was only one returner for the men, and the rest of the team is made up of freshmen and transfers.
“I think we are further along than anyone expected us to be,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher said he accomplished a few goals he set for the season. He broke a school record for the fastest time in the run at Fort Hays State University. He said one of his biggest goals was team growth. He said this growth was accomplished throughout the season.
Fletcher said in order to keep the momentum going into their next run and further, his team needs to stay confident. “We understand we aren’t the top dog,” Fletcher said. “We just have to go out and run the best every week and it puts us where it puts us.”
The Ranger men and women teams are both preparing to compete at Regionals on Nov. 4 in Kearney, Nebraska.