By Brodee Gillam
Both the LCC men's and women's cross country teams came out of the muggy NJCAA Regional Championships with successful outings on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Grand Woods Park, west of Lansing.
The women finished with another regional and conference championship in dominant fashion. The Stars scored 17 points, while second-place Vincennes had 62 points in the 5K race.
Freshman Casey Mossholder became regional champion by once again ending the race as the fastest Star. Mossholder finished with a time of 18:35, with fellow freshman Melissa Ricci placed second in 18:46.
Last season's regional champ, LCC sophomore Kaitlin Beyer, was the third runner to cross the finish line, with a time of 19:02.
Beyer said she has been happy all season to be surrounded by great runners.
"It's awesome; I've never been a part of a team bigger than seven people," Beyer said. "This year, having 15 girls, there is always a teammate to race with.
"For me, mentally, it's helped me every single race to have someone like Ashley (Lindeman) to push me during the race."
The women harriers finished with an average time of 18:59, almost a minute and two seconds faster than second-place Vincennes.
LCC Head Coach Jim Robinson said he is as confident as ever in his women's team going into the national meet.
"(The women) have ran consistently well every meet and we're getting better every meet," Robinson said. "We ran really well at Muskegon (but) I think we ran even better in regionals in worse conditions."
The LCC men finished second overall in their 8K race, only finishing eight points out of first. Regional champion Vincennes finished with 39 points and LCC had 47.
Freshman Shawn Bell was the first man to cross the finish line for LCC, placing sixth overall with a time of 27:15.
Sophomore teammate Carson Alexander, who has had an injury-plagued season, is coming on at the right time. He was the second LCC harrier to finish. Alexander placed eighth overall with a time of 27:20.
Coach Robinson said the men look poised to make a run in the NJCAA National Championship race.
"(We) will have to have a very good race to get on the podium," Robinson said.
The second-place finish broke a 19-year streak of regional title wins for the men.
Even though they didn't win regionals, the Stars' still won the MCCAA Conference Championship.
Both teams will compete in the NJCAA National Championships in El Dorado, Kansas at the Prairie Trails Golf Course on Saturday, Nov. 12. The men's race starts at 1 p.m. The women's time is still to be determined.