A perfect race
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Current Garden City Community College cross country runners and former Busters dominated the top of the men's standings on Thursday in a meet against Dodge City and Fort Hays State at the Tangeman Sports Complex.
The No. 6-ranked Busters came away from the meet with a perfect score of 15 points in the 3-mile run, placing the top five qualified runners at the meet. On the women's side, the Lady Busters were last out of the three teams but their top runner was third in the 2-mile event.
"I thought that was great," said first-year head coach Ryan Turner. "For our women to come back on dead legs (after a tough workout on Wednesday) and to come back on the second mile and for our men to run like we did in the same circumstances, I was really proud of them."
Alfredo Lebron took the top spot on the men's side with a time of 16 minutes, 6 seconds. Just behind him were four other Busters as the top five Garden City runners finished within 42 seconds of each other. Babiker "BB" Babiker was second at 16:13, Tyler Eddings took third at 16:31, Anthony Hamilton, who fell at the quarter mark on the first mile, was fourth at 16:36 and Jose Zavala finished in fifth at 16:48.
"Honestly, we were all tired because yesterday we had a really big hill workout," said sophomore returner Lebron, "but we came into this race just trying to stay ahead of the other teams, honestly. That was our plan."
The only runner the Busters failed to stay ahead of was a former Buster, Cameron Rieth, who transferred to Fort Hays State in 2009 and is now a coach for the Tigers.
The Busters' top four runners ran as a pack for the first mile before Lebron and Babiker pulled away in the next two miles.
When asked if the separation as the race progressed was planned, Turner joked, "Well no, I'd like them all to be up front."
He did note that being able to pass runners in the final mile was a good sign for his team.
One of those late-kick runners was Zavala, who was further back in the pack before passing several runners in the final mile, including Fort Hays' Manual Ultreras in the last 100 meters to give the Busters the perfect score.
Ultreras was one of two former Busters from Fort Hays State that made the trip to compete in Garden City. Ultreras took sixth at 16:51 and Mike Wolf, a Holcomb High grad, was 13th at 17:15.
A 2013 Garden City High School graduate, Jacob Thomas, placed 10th for Fort Hays at 17:08.
Fort Hays was second with 48 points and Dodge City was third with 74.
The Lady Busters were not able to match their male counterparts' performance, scoring 54 points for third. Fort Hays scored 29 points for first and Dodge City, which came into the meet tied for 25th-ranked nationally with Garden, was second with 42 points.
Jenny Boroughs was the best finisher for the Lady Busters in third at 13:24, followed by Anahy Castro (13:42) in eighth, Jaden Bolmer (13:50) in 10th, Sandra Thornton (15:01) in 16th and Arely Navarrete (15:45) in 17th.
Fort Hays' Sydney Lower was the top placer, finishing in 13:04.
Before the meet, former cross country coach and current sports information director, Dan Delgado, was honored for his many years at the helm of program, steering the men to several top finishes nationally, including second in 2011.
Garden City is idle until Sept. 21 when it hosts the Buster Roundup 5K Road Race.