CONCORDIA, Kansas — In its final tune-up before the KJCCC/Region VI Multis, the Cloud County Community College track and field teams laid down solid split squad performances at the Gorilla Classic held at Pittsburgh State, and the Concordia Invite in Seward, Nebraska.
Highlighting the weekend for Cloud County was its distance medley relay team of Thobile Mosito, Darrien Lipscomb, Stephen Marindich and Moses Dirane as they finished third at the Gorilla Classic with a time of 10:07.39, breaking the previous school record of 10:10.0 set in 2007 by Sam Chege, Jamin Jones, Raymond Radway and Johnny Shuping.
Shuping, a seven-time NJCAA National Champion and anchor on that 2007 team, is now a coach in Pretoria, South African who has worked with Mosito, Dirane and a handful of other Cloud County athletes.
"We were real excited that they were able to break the school record and set it at the site for the (NJCAA National Championships on March 3-4)," said Cloud County head men's coach, Harry Kitchener. "This was the first event on Friday night, so the kids were rested and we're starting to round into shape."
All four runners had a monster weekend for the T-Birds.
Mosito posted individual NJCAA national qualifying times in the mile (10th, 4:19.91) and 800-meter run (6th, 1:55.70). Dirane won the 800-meter run with a qualifying time of 1:53.06 — the third best mark in the NJCAA.
As for Marindich, he finished 16th in the mile run with a national qualifying time of 4:24.52 and, along with Lipscomb, Armand Van Zyl and Wesley Logorava, pushed the Cloud County men's 4X400-meter relay team on to the NJCAA National Indoor meet with a ninth-place finish at the Gorilla Classic and a qualifying time of 3:19.98.
The Cloud County women's 4X400-meter relay team of Marjorie Thompson, Precious Posey, Shania Anguish and Ariel St. John also punched their ticket to the national meet with a 16th-place finish at the Gorilla Classic and a qualifying time of 4:04.05.
St. John also added a pair of top-10 individual finishes as she took sixth at the Gorilla Classic in the 800-meter run (2:16.67), moving her up to No. 4 in the NJCAA rankings for the event, and placed second in the 600-meter run (1:34.79).
Sophomore thrower Nayoka Clunis rounded out the top performers at the Gorilla Classic for Cloud County as Clunis, already nationally ranked No. 2 in each event, finished fourth in the shot-put (48-02.00) and fifth in the weight throw (57-04.75).
At the Concordia Invite, sophomore jumper Ramel Mason highlighted the one-day event for the T-Birds as he earned a fourth-place finish in the long jump with a leap pf 21-05.50, and then set a personal record in the triple jump (47-06.25) en route to a second-place finish.
Freshman thrower Gabbreil Harris-David also recorded a PR on Friday as she finished sixth in the weight throw with a toss of 54-01.00.
Up next for Cloud County will be the Region VI/KJCCC Multis back on the Pittsburgh State campus this Friday and Saturday. The T-Birds, who are nationally ranked No. 5 on the men's side and No. 17 for the women's team, will be hunting a KJCCC West title and a top-3 finish in the Region VI team scores.
"The KJCCC is the best conference in the country and (conference championship) is going to be a battle between Barton, Butler and Cloud," Kitchener said. "It'll be nice if we can win it. All of us have a lot of events covered and it's just going to come down to how the points break."