CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College men's track and field team gets its 2018 season underway this Friday and Saturday at The Graduate Classic, hosted by the University of Nebraska inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
"It's a good meet to get started at and is at a great facility," said Cloud County head coach, Harry Kitchener. "It's against a variety of universities from Division I and Division II, as well as junior colleges. It's a good place to get started. We've always enjoyed going to that meet in Lincoln."
It'll be the first look at a deep and talented T-Birds team that Kitchener said should again challenge for a top 2-3 spot in the Region VI, much like they have during his current 41-year tenure.
Dirane, the 2017 outdoor steeplechase national champion, and Mosito were each four-time national place winners as a freshmen between the indoor and outdoor season.
As for Marindich, he earned three podium appearances in 2017. He finished fifth in the indoor 600-meter run, third in the outdoor 800-meter run, and was the national runner up in the indoor 1,000-meter run last March.
That trio, alongside sophomore sprinter Darrien Lipscomb, also made up Cloud County's distance medley relay team, which set the school record and top time in the country last season at 10:07.39.
Freshman runner Longins Kouri, the top 800-meter high school runner from Nebraska, spearheads a group of freshmen that will add to Cloud County's depth and scoring options in the distance races.
"We're pretty deep in the middle distance and distance areas," Kitchener said. "There are so many races in indoor track that all require a lot of middle distance and distance athletes. We've recruited that area really hard."
Cloud County will have plenty of chances to score in field events this spring as well with sophomore thrower Vashon McCarthy set to return. McCarthy is a three-time national qualifier and is coming off of a strong performance in the outdoor finals last spring where he finished seventh in the discus and sixth in the shot put.
All T-Birds will have their sights set on reaching the NJCAA National Indoor Championships, schedule for March 2-3 inside Texas Tech's new state of the art Sports Performance Center.
The road to Lubbock, Texas begins this Friday and Saturday for Cloud County when it opens up the indoor season at The Graduate Classic in Lincoln, Nebraska.