Busters' XC men fare well; VB goes 2-2
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
The men's cross country team seems finely tuned for the Region VI Championships in Hutchinson on Oct. 28.
At Bethel College in Newton on Saturday, in the final tune up event for the Busters, the men swept the second through seventh scoring spots at the meet to take first as a team with 20 points.
"It was good for our guys," said head coach Ryan Turner. "Our front guys, we know they can run fast, but our four, five and six guys, we kind of need them to step up."
On Saturday, they did.
Alfredo Lebron led the way with a time of 27 minutes, 25.70 seconds in the 8K for second, directly followed by Babiker Babiker (27:29.2), Anthony Hamilton (27:59.0), Tyler Eddings (28:02.6), Fidel Munoz (28:05.7) and, finally, Jose Zavala (28:05.5) in seventh. Jalen Rowland was two runners behind in 10th, finishing in 28:33.5.
With a limited field of only seven men's teams, Turner wanted his front three runners to push his back runners throughout the race, explaining the grouping at the front of the pack.
However, the women's team, which has been plagued by injuries and illness all season, was severely handicapped on Saturday yet again. Without five runners — Norma Rodriguez and Anahy Castro to illness, Arely Navarrete and Jaden Bolmer to plantar fasciitis, and Sandra Thornton to a rolled ankle that she suffered the week before — only two Lady Busters competed in Newton. Jenny Boroughs represented well with a fourth-place finish in the 5K at 20:29.4. Karla Perez complemented Boroughs with a run of 26:57 to finish in 36th.
"Right now, we're just trying to patch (the women's team) up, and try to put the best team we can out there," the first-year coach Turner said.
Turner also said that he expects to have a full women's team to run at regionals. The event will be held at the Westar/Prairie Ridge Cross Country Course in Hutchinson. Starting times are to be determined.
The Lady Busters went 1-2 against other women's teams in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday and Saturday, but went 1-0 against men.
With Dodge City dropping out at the last minute, the Air Force Prep men's team entered the tournament, and the Lady Busters dropped them 25-22, 26-24, 22-25 and 25-21 on Saturday morning.
The Lady Busters also started off Friday with a win, besting Otero (Colo.) College 27-25, 21-25, 25-15 and 25-18. Unfortunately for Garden City, they couldn't keep the momentum going into the nightcaps.
They lost to the Air Force Prep women's team (26-24, 25-23, 21-25, 25-21) on Friday night, and then fell to Colorado Christian University JV (12-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22) on Saturday night.
"We played pretty good at the beginning of each day," said head coach Harvey Sanders. "We controlled each match each day — we were mindful; we did our jobs; we were successful. But during the second matches, we lost some of our focus."
Taylor Winchester (45), Dominique Mays (43) and Chinasa Ekweariri (41) led the Lady Busters in kills over the two-day tournament. Nohelly Brown was tops in digs with 62, and Abby Rennick had a team-high 101 assists. Several players led the team with a pair of aces.
The Lady Busters will jump back into Jayhawk Conference play this week with a home match at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against Colby, and a road contest at 6:30 p.m. in Dodge City on Thursday.