WILLIAMS, LANE FINISH IN TOP 50 AT NJCAA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS INA, Ill. ? Both Isaac Williams and Cecilia Lane had a little more to prove on Saturday than just competing at the NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championships at Rend Lake College.
Williams wanted to show everybody that his Region VI performance could be duplicated. Lane wanted to post a great time to honor her high school coach, who is leaving the sport to advance his military career.
Both Hutchinson Community College runners did what they set out to achieve on Saturday.
Williams placed 39th overall in a field of 350 runners, while Lane broke the 20-minute mark for the second time in her freshman season and placed 47th out of 335 runners.
"Isaac ran the race of his life," HCC head coach Rod Zook said. "He has ran two great races in a row. He was just magnificent.
"Cecilia got off to just the right start. She didn't go out too fast and then started marching through people."
Zook the race conditions were different than expected as the wind kicked up on the fast, but narrow course that put a premium on staying with the front pack and not get buried.
Williams, a sophomore from Pretty Prairie, who finished 201st at nationals last season, posted a time of 27 minutes, 12 seconds on the 8K course to finish in the Top 40, the goal he was personally shooting for.
Lane made it into the front pact and posted the 17th-best team in women's program history of 19 minutes, 52 seconds on the 5K course.
"The wind slowed the course down," Zook said. "If you got back at all, there was no way for you to get back.
"Both races went out fast and you had to hold on for dear life. You had so use so much energy to stay out in front and not get buried and then you had to hold on."
Ashlynn Lambert and Orbelin Rojas both had much tougher starts on Saturday.
Lambert placed 76th with a time of 20:24. Rojas, HCC's No. 1 men's runner all season, was sick but still ran. He got off to a slow start, but still battled to a 52nd-place showing and a time of 27:28.
"Ashlynn was probably a little quick out of the block," Zook said. "I felt bad for O. With him feeling bad, he was way down at the start."
HCC's other two runners both finished in the upper division of their races.
Freshman John Murphy III placed 117th with a time of 28:31. Sophomore Diosha Johnson, who had to drop out of last year's national championship after a mile and be rushed to the hospital, placed 155th in a time of 21:32.
"The kids poured their hearts into it and that's what we expected," Zook said. "These are the type of kids I want in this program."