New XC coach leads GCCC into season
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Continuing excellence is the goal for new Garden City Community College cross country coach Ryan Turner. Former coach Dan Delgado, now the sports information director at the college, led a highly succesful men's program to an eighth-place finish at nationals last season and second in 2011.
"The goal is always going to be to set the bar high," said Turner, the former University of Houston and Cowley County Community College cross country coach. "It's already been set high with coach Delgado . . . our goal is to continue that tradition and that legacy he's worked so hard for."
The team's first chance to continue that legacy is 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Alamosa, Colo., during the Adams State College meet. A year ago, Garden City was the only two-year college in attendance as the women took eighth and the men were sixth.
Returner Alfredo Lebron will lead the talented men's squad after placing 79th at the cross country national championship meet in 2012.
"He's fit and in shape and ready to rock," said Turner of the Craig, Colo., native. "He's been training at altitude all summer living in Colorado. He's fit and I see him realistically with an opportunity to become an All-American this season."
Also returing are Jose Zavala, who was 148th at nationals, and Holcomb's Brendan Thomas.
On the women's side, Turner sees a chance for the Lady Busters to catch up to the men's lofty heights.
"I think we've got a lot of room for improvement. I think we need to recruit locally better," he said.
The women haven't competed at the national tournament as a team since 2009, when they placed 30th, after four-straight years before that in the top 12.
Returning local runner Jaden Bolmer of Lakin will help Turner try to raise the women's expectations.
The expectation is to bring home trophies," said Turner.
Garden City will host Dodge City in a dual on Sept. 12, when Turner said Delgado will be honored for his past success as a cross country coach and now for his role as SID.