In most years, the Muthama-Rogers Invitational cross country meet at the Bethel College cross country course is a small, intimate affair with usually about six to eight schools.
With COVID-19 canceling meets in the region, Saturday’s edition drew 19 teams and more than 200 runners.
Saint Mary won the women’s team title, while Allen County Community College won the men’s title. Saint Mary scored 48 points with Friends in second at 69 and Colby Community College with 100. Bethel was 10th at 256.
Allen County scored 56 points, followed by Hutchinson Community College with 76 and Butler Community College with 90. Bethel was 10th with 254.
Abigael Kemboi of Colby Community College women the women’s race in 18:09.8 (5,000 meters). Chelsea Jackson, running unattached, finished second in 18:17.3. Lubna Suied of Cowley finished third in 18:32.3.
"It was a good run," Kemboi said. "It was a very flat course."
Kemboi is a sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya. She placed 15th in the NJCAA Division I nationals last year.
"I want to run at least a 17 (minute race) this year," she said.
Gudisa Adnow of Fort Scott Community College won the men’s race in 19:52.4. Teagan Flanagan of Hutchinson was second in 19:54.8. Zachary McPhee of Pratt was third in 20:25.9.
Due to a glicth in the race, the men ran four miles, as opposed to a normal 8,000-meter race (4.97 miles).
"I thought it was 8K and that confused me," Adnow said.
Adnow is from Dallas.
"I’d like to try and get to nationals this year," Adnow said. "Our team is doing pretty good. We are mostly freshmen. We don’t have a lot of experience."
For the Bethel women, Haley Robinette was 49th in 21:05.8, Natalie Graber was 61st in 21:42.9, Aubry Grame was 64th in 21:45.2, Stephany Meyer was 68th in 21:54.7, Emma Hershberger was 92nd in 23:49.6 and Charlotte Ehrmann was 114th in 27:55.2. All six runners turned in season bests.
For the Bethel men, Aaron Kearney was 45th in 22:18.7, Isaiah Bartel was 48th in 22:27.5, Laytham Magana was 62nd in 23:10.7, Nick Morgan was 67th in 23:22.8, Carter Funk was 90th in 24:20.8, Robbie Crager was 97th in 24:53.7, Evan Depriest was 116th in 27:56.0 and Damian Juarez was 120th in 28:30.9,
"I think because we got off course with the men, it affected them mentally," Bethel coach Kelly Parsley said. "They had to go with the race. It affected their times and mentality. The women ran awesome. Haley Robinette ran a 21:05, which is probably the best time we’ve had in six or seven years. We had four women under 22 minutes, which I don’t know if that’s happened in program history."
Bethel completed its third meet of the season.
"We haven’t filled a team in a really long time," Parsley said. "To come to where we were to where we are today is really exciting. Plus we have another runner for the men who is sitting out because of the conference transfer rule."
Bethel is off until Oct. 3, when the team competes the Red Devil Invitational at Allen County in Iola. Bethel hosts another meet Oct. 9.