Friday, September 14, 2012

Cross Country Preview - Eastern New Mexico

By Don Garrett

Cross Country Preview 2012: Eastern New Mexico
MEN – the Greyhounds won the LSC championship in 2011, dethroning ACU after more than 20 years as LSC XC champs. They finished a full 40 points ahead of ACU, it was not even very close. The LSC has made ENMU an odds-on favorite for 2012 even with the loss of 2 top-8 finishers at the conference XC meet.  However, that poll came out before directed me to an article saying that Greyhound head coach Mike Harney was headed to his home state of Florida to take a HS job and that his assistant Jessica Becker was headed to a coaching job in Kansas. The men’s team will be helmed this year by former Greyhound runner Casey Blevins. I don’t know yet how much that will affect the team, which still appears to be the class of the LSC.


  • ·         Tallam Kipruto – huge last minute addition to the 2011 team, a transfer from South Plains and Lamar finished 3rd in the LSC meet and was one of the catalysts to the team championship. He then turned around and was the runner-up in both the steeplechase and the 5K at the conference track meet, throwing in a 7th place in the 1500 for good measure
  • ·         Mohamed Noor – slightly disappointed with an 8th place finish in the XC, after finishing as runner-up in 2010. Noor also had a slightly disappointing track meet finish to his career, finishing 4th in the 5K and 6th in the 10K after finishing 2nd in both races in 2011.
  • ·         Casey Robertson – 31st in the XC meet

RETURNEES (with their 2011 place included):

  • ·         Isaiah Samoei (1st) – senior - the transfer from Iowa Western lived up to his hype, winning the XC title, then scoring 28 points in the LSC track meet, winning the 5K and 10K and finishing 2nd in the 1500. Returns as the undisputed top distance runner in the LSC. Getting Samoei and Kipruto propelled ENMU to the LSC XC title and they also represented 46 points a the LSC track meet, better than 2 LSC cumulative team scores!
  • ·         Tyler Saiz (6th) – Soph – terrific young runner who also garnered a 4th place finish in the 1500 last spring – one of the best young runners in the LSC
  • ·         Jacob Lozano (10th) – senior - 3rd in the 10K on the track, he is one of the top distance runners in the LSC
  • ·         Justin Netcher (12th) – junior - he was redshirted on the track in the spring
  • ·         Patrick Lueras (27th) – junior - very poor showing on the track, getting 24th in the 5K
  • ·         Pedro Martinez (30th) – senior - one of the better steeplechasers in the LSC, finishing 5th this past spring
  • ·         Trevor Merhege (48th) – soph - looked terrific early in the season, but tailed off late and had a mediocre track season (only 21st in the LSC 5K)
  • ·         Jose Arias – soph - did not compete in the XC meet, but placed 8th in the LSC 800 and is listed on this year’s XC roster
  • ·         Zerrick Vriseno – junior - did not make the top 10 for ENMU in 2011, but did place 15th in the LSC 5K on the track

NEWCOMERS – this is a very solid group. Probably none of them are quite to the level of Kipruto or Noor, but some are top 25 type runners and if even 1 of them turns into a top 10 runner, then ENMU is set for 2012

  • ·         Kaspars Briska – soph transfer from Latvia and Cloud County JC – 3rd in the JC steeplechase in 2010
  • ·         Kevin Roa – junior transfer from Hartnell College in California – at the California JC state meet, he was 7th in the 10K and 12th in the 5K
  • ·         Marquez Hobson – junior transfer from Northern Iowa Area CC – 59th in the JC XC in 2011, he was also on the 7th place Distance Medley Relay at JC indoor nationals
  • ·         Cody Bodine – freshman from Quanah, TX – 17th in the 1A XC in 2009 (his sophomore year), in the District 5-1A meet last spring he finished 1st in the 800 and 4th in the 1600
  • ·         David Blackmer – freshman from Mill Creek , WA, Jackson HS – at the Washington 4A state meet, he was 18th in the 3200, 22nd in the 1600 and 27th in the 800

WOMEN – the Zias ran fairly well in 2011, finishing 5th only 4 points behind ACU and 13 points ahead of Tarleton. With the departure of coaches Mike Harney and Jessica Becker, Danielle Jones will assume the mantle of interim head XC coach, only 2 years removed from competing for the Zias herself. ENMU will have to make up for the loss of Nicky Reid, who finished in the LSC top-10 each of the past 2 seasons.


  • ·         Nicky Reid – 9th in the LSC XC meet in 2011, Reid was too banged up from injuries to run in last year’s LSC track meet, but she had already picked up numerous all-conference awards in both track and XC in the past few years
  • ·         Sofie Ingram – showed some promise last year in her freshman year from Florida, including a 42nd place in the XC meet, but did not return this year
  • ·         Megan Bryant – 55th in the XC meet

RETURNEES (with their place in the 2011 LSC meet included):

  • ·         Adrienne Montoya (13th) – junior – in the top 15 at conference each of her first 2 years – only finished a somewhat disappointing 13th in the LSC 1500
  • ·         Sabrina Huelga (24th) – soph – a solid addition to the team from California who placed 6th in the 800 at the conference track meet last spring
  • ·         Beth Blind (33rd) – soph – came back in the spring and almost placed in the 10K, getting 10th – out of the money by just a few seconds
  • ·         Alesha Jones (34th) – senior – ran well last spring, placing 4th in the steeplechase on the track
  • ·         Brittany Buchanan (36th) – junior – also finished 12th in the 5K
  • ·         Leigh Ann Omarkhail (58th) – senior – transfer from Cowley County who placed 11th in the steeple in 2012 after finishing 3rd in the JC steeple in 2010

NEWCOMERS – some interesting runners, all of them freshmen from the state of New Mexico

  • ·         Amber Saiz – freshmen from Belen – the NM 4A state champ in the 800, she also finished 6th in the 1600
  • ·         Andrea Wittman – freshman from Hobbs – in the NM 5A state meet she finished 3rd in the 1600 and 4th in the 3200
  • ·         Jherica Rhodes – freshman from Hobbs – 10th in the NM 5A 800

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