Kazingo, Kirui are all-RMAC

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By Dave Kavanaugh

New Mexico Highlands' Nicaise Kazingo and Moses Kirui earned all-conference honors Saturday, setting the pace for a pair of seventh-place team finishes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference cross country championships.

Highlands' men were seventh of 11 schools; the NMHU women seventh of 13 in the meet, hosted by Metro State in Denver.

Adams State added to its string of team championships in both races and is considered a leading contender for the national title on the men's and women's sides.

Kazingo broke up a pack of all-Adams State and Western State runners to finish the 8-kilometer Washington Park course seventh individually in 25 minutes and 35 seconds. Kazingo has been Highlands' No. 1 man since the season began. He was the only runner from a school other than perennial national title contenders ASC and WSC to make the men's top 12 and first-team all-RMAC.

Kirui pulled in 16th overall in 26:27, earning third-team all-RMAC distinction. Fellow NMHU Cowboys Joshua Garcia (46th in 28:22), John Ronoh (50th, 28:45) and Pecos freshman Mario Armijo (56th, 29:07) rounded out the team's scoring. Gabriel Vidal (58th, 29:21), Chris Apodaca (64th, 30:21), and Cesar Alivizo (33:45) also competed for the 'Pokes.

Adams State's Grizzlies throroughly dominated the men's race, with Reuben Mwei (24:42), Aaron Braun (24:48) and Brian Medigovich (25:07) running one-two-three. ASC put five in the top eight and seven in the top 10.

Western State's Tyler Pennel and Iain Donnan ran fourth and fifth, respectively, to break up what would have been a perfect score for Adams. The Mountaineers placed second as a team. Following them in descending order of finish: Colorado School of Mines, Metro State, Nebraska-Kearney, Fort Lewis, NMHU, Colorado-Colorado Springs, Western New Mexico, Colorado Christian and Regis.

Carolina Garcia, who has been Highlands' leading woman most of the year, finished strong with a 27th place showing in a time of 24:30. Garcia missed a spot on the all-RMAC lineup by 16 seconds. Cowgirls teammate Ashley Lovato ran 34th in 25:10; Sandra Martinez was 38th in 25:24, Reyna Montano 40th in 25:26. Former Robertson track standout Brieanna Roper completed the Cowgirls' varsity scoring, placing 68th in 27:37. A sixth NMHU woman, Nancy Anel, was 78th in 29:34.

Kristen McGlynn of Adams State won the individual women's race in 22:25 -- 13 seconds faster than runner-up Alexis Skarda; she was one of three ASC runners in the top four.

The Grizzly women placed five in the first dozen to outpace Western State.

Mesa State, Colorado School of Mines, Metro State, Fort Lewis, NMHU, Colorado-Colorado Springs, Regis, Nebraska-Kearney, Colorado State-Pueblo, Western New Mexico, Colorado Christian followed, in descending order of finish.