TSU ran away with the field as they outdistanced second-place Grambling State by 34 points as five of its six participants placed 11th or higher. Cosmas Keter was the top finisher (6th) for TSU with a time of 26:17 followed by Efrain Lira (7th/26:48), Jose Gonzalez (9th/26:51), Dan Lerma (10th/27:02) and Allen Gonzalez (11th/27:03).
“To win this championship was truly a blessing,” said head coach Clyde Duncan. “These young men ran very, very well. It was a great performance by our guys, especially since we have seven freshmen and one sophomore. It’s been a longtime coming. We could not have accomplished this without the support of our Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Kevin Granger, and my assistant Cross country coach, Xavier Martinez.
What made Monday’s win even sweeter was that it was TSU’s first title since 1993.
“It is my prayer that this is the start of some wonderful things for the TSU cross country program and our track & field program,” added Duncan. “I feel honored and blessed to have such a young group. When we recruited these young men, we knew that they had the potential to perform well, both in the classroom and in cross country. These young men each ran as a team. It was a job well done. This was a very good meet for us. This shows what TSU can do. The future looks good for our program. It’s a matter of these young men staying focused, staying on course and remembering that they are students first.
Assistant coach Xavier Martinez credited the team’s mental makeup as the reason behind the championship.
I’m proud of these guys,” said Martinez. “They stepped up to the occasion, had a mission, knew what they wanted and they went after it. This performance showed how mentally strong they are. As young as they are, they showed up. The weather was windy and the course was a little heavy and humid, but that didn’t stop them from running hard or running their best.”
The Tigers will await a bid to the South Central Regional Championships in November.