MEET RECAP: 2019 NJCAA DI Cross Country Championships

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – History was made at the 2019 NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

Cloud County (Kan.) CC and Iowa Central CC posted monumenal victories, while Wesley Banguria of Colby (Kan.) CC and Faith Linga Chepengat of Iowa Western CC completed dominant seasons the only way they knew how – with wins of their own.

2019 NJCAA DI XC Championships – Final Standings

Men’s Teams
Points
Women’s Teams
Points
No. 1 Cloud County CC
89
No. 1 Iowa Central CC
60
No. 3 El Paso CC
110
No. 7 New Mexico JC
107
No. 2 Iowa Central CC
140
No. 8 El Paso CC
125
No. 4 Central Arizona
154
No. 3 South Plains (Texas)
135
No. 8 Trinidad State JC
155
No. 2 Central Arizona
137

Men’s Story

Individual Results | Team Results

Cloud County (Kan.) CC rose to the ranks of national champion for the second season in a row.

The top-ranked T-Birds, who competed with only six athletes on their roster throughout the season, won their first men’s cross country team title in program history six months after capturing the crown in men’s outdoor track & field.

Cloud County (Kan.) got it done by putting five of its six runners in the top-40 with Dais Malebana, Kwanele Sandile, Saba Khvichava and Habtamu Geta all clumping together from 10th to 18th. Malebana, a four-time honoree as National Athlete of the Week, led the way in 10th place.

The T-Birds finished with 89 points, 21 fewer than runner-up No. 3 El Paso CC and 51 points fewer than third-place team No. 2 Iowa Central CC. The top-5 in the team standings was rounded out by No. 4 Central Arizona and No. 8 Trinidad State JC.

Wesley Banguria ran away with the individual title in a race that saw 10 programs with athletes in the top-10. Banguria pulled away early and became just the fourth runner in NJCAA DI history to go sub-23 minutes at the national championships when he crossed the finish line in 22:55.

Women’s Story

Individual Results | Team Results

Iowa Central CC now stands alone as the most-decorated women’s program in NJCAA Division I Cross Country history.

With their dominant victory on Saturday, the Tritons have now amassed eight national team titles in women’s cross country, more than any other program in NJCAA DI history. Prior to Saturday, Iowa Central CC was tied with Ricks (Idaho) CC for the all-time lead.

Nothing would deny the top-ranked Tritons their chance at history in Albuquerque as they moved like a well-oiled machine. Iowa Central CC put four runners in the top-11 as Winrose Chesang (4th), Eleonora Curtabbi (5th), Florance Uwajeneza (9th) and Lilian Busienei (11th) paved the way to the crown with Rosalie Fish capping the victory in 33rd place.

All told, the Tritons rolled to a 47-point win over No. 7 New Mexico JC. The T-Birds finished a surprising runner-up thanks to putting all five of its scoring athletes in the top-40 led by Flomena Asekol (6th) and Montserret Rios (10th).

No. 8 El Paso CC finished third in the team standings, while No. 3 South Plains College and No. 2 Central Arizona rounded out the top-5.

Faith Linga Chepengat of Iowa Western CC made quick work of the competition as she won by 13 seconds over Everlyn Kemboi of El Paso CC. Chepengat clocked a time of 16:49, which is the second fastest mark by an individual champion in meet history.