Mosito wins 5,000-meter championship to highlight final day of NJCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field Championships

Cloud County sophomore Thobile Mosito celebrates as he crosses the finish line as the NJCAA men's 5,000-meter national champion
Cloud County sophomore Thobile Mosito celebrates as he crosses the finish line as the NJCAA men's 5,000-meter national champion

EL DORADO, Kansas — Cloud County Community College sophomore Thobile Mosito couldn't contain himself at the end of Saturday's 5,000-meter final. The typically soft spoken and reserved distance runner leaped across the finish line, slung his bright yellow hat toward the peanut gallary and hugged anyone he could get his hands on.

The pre-race No. 4 seed had just won his second NJCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field Championship of the meet, and in doing so firmly cemented the Cloud County men's team into third place overall to highlight Day Three for the T-Birds.

Mosito, the men's 10,000-meter champion on Thursday and third-place finisher in Friday's steeplechase, made his move from third to first over the final 400 meters to edge out Gillette's Ayrton Ledesma and Trinidad State's Daniel Haymes in a winning time of 15:10.50.

"(Mosito) had to beat two kids who are really good mile runners," said Cloud County head men's coach, Harry Kitchener. "Toby is a solid mile runner, but those guys probably have more speed. He came around that final turn and he was motivated to beat them up the straightaway."

Mosito's win and 10 team points in the 5,000-meter gave Cloud County enough cushion to hold on for third place overall with 67 points, fending off West Texas College in fourth with 63 points.

"We've never really finished our national meets up that high, with third place in the indoor and outdoor during the same year," Kitchener said. "That doesn't happen very often for a non-full ride scholarship school. These kids held together very well and handled adversity with some kids missing or being injured. We're really pleased."

The Cloud County women's team also grinded out a top-10 team finish as the T-Birds took sixth place with a score of 48.

"We had a lot of girls step up and compete at a very high level the last few days," said Cloud County head women's coach, Ted Schmitz, whose team improved on its No. 7 ranking entering competition. "There were a lot of personal bests and we're very pleased."

Sophomore thrower Gabbreil Harris, and freshman thrower Shanee Angol paced the lady T-Birds Saturday with a pair of national runner-up finishes.

Harris, who earned a second-place finish in Thursday's hammer throw event, added a runner-up finish in Saturday's discus final with a throw of 165-feet, 2-inches; just an inch shy of Central Arizona's Devia Brown for the national championship.

The native of Erial, New Jersey will graduate from Cloud County as an eight-time national qualifier between the indoor and outdoor seasons, the school record holder in the outdoor discus (171'7), and an indoor national champion in the weight throw.

As for Angol, she battled through gusting winds to take home her second-place finish in the women's javelin with a mark of 149'11. She was joined in the top-10 by sophomore Falon Kickhaefer (122'0) in eighth place and freshman Carley Nelson (111'4) in 10th place.

Cloud County received a number of additional strong performances on Saturday as sophomore distance runner Moses Dirane placed third in the men's 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:00.67.

Fellow distance runner Stephen Marindich was also solid in his final appearance in a T-Bird uniform.

Marindich finished fourth (1:51.04) in the men's 800-meter final and anchored the Cloud County men's 4X400-meter relay team (Darrien Lipscomb, Lesley Mahlakoane and Wesley Logorava) to a seventh-place finish and school record time of 3:11.38, which snapped a 38-year-old record previously held by Terry Hawk, Leo Suber, Frank Lange and Paul Jones in 1980.

Ariel St. John, a fourth-place finisher in the women's 800-meter run during the indoor season with a time of 2:22.70, placed third in Saturday's final behind a strong mark of 2:17.64.

Sophomore sprinter Jatoria McGirt, the 2018 indoor national champion in the women's 100-meter dash, concluded her career at Cloud County with an eighth-place finish in the outdoor 100-meter final, crossing the finish line in 11.73 seconds.

Rounding out the T-Birds' top finishers on Saturday were the trio of triple jumpers: Peter Ackah, Murphy Bavinga and Johnathan Spearman.

Ackah placed seventh overall with a jump of 49'8.25 despite having his finals appearance cut short due to a hamstring injury.

Bavinga followed in 10th place with a mark of 48'6.25 and Spearman came in 13th after posting a jump of 44'10.75.