MARYVILLE, Missouri — Ten years passed before the quartet of Cloud County Community College graduates Thobile Mosito, Moses Dirane, Stephen Marindich and Darrien Lipscomb were able to break the school record for the indoor distance medley relay. It's a feat they'd accomplish twice during their tenure in T-Bird uniforms.
That time of 9:59.52 would fall Friday during the first of two days at the Bearcat Invite, hosted by Northwest Missouri State, as the team of freshmen Dennis Kiptoo, Santino Kenyi and Saba Khvichava, and sophomore Lesley Mahlakoane produced a new top mark of 9:59.48 nearly one year later to the day.
The previous record of 9:59.52 was set on Feb. 10, 2018 at the Gorilla Classic in Pittsburg, Kansas.
As for the 2019 "Cloud County A" squad, they rolled to an event win Friday, beating out Nebraska-Kearney by six seconds and taking control of the top spot amongst NJCAA teams in the process, while the "Cloud County B" team of Gabriel Chinya, Ablel Gebreselase, Tanner Brown and Kwanele Mthembu finished sixth with a time of 10:25.85; the third best mark in NJCAA.
That was just one of two school records to fall over the weekend as on Saturday freshman hurdler Deya Erickson topped her own performance from earlier this season, winning the 60-meter hurdles event with a record time of 8.48. She too currently owns the top time amongst NJCAA athletes.
Fellow freshman Grace Chinonyelum nearly produced a third school record in the women's high jump as she scissor jumped her way into a second-place finish with a leap of 5-feet, 7.25 inches. It's the top mark in the country amongst NJCAA athletes and just three quarters of an inch shy of the indoor record (5'8) set by Jamie Pruter in 2008.
In addition to their record-setting performances, the T-Birds also received strong finishes from Kiptoo and Kwanele in the men's mile event as the two national qualifiers finished first and fourth, respectively.
Kiptoo won the event in a time of 4:16.41, currently the sixth best time in the NJCAA, while Kwanele ran a 4:22.18.
Kenyi earned a third-place finish in the men's 800-meter run (1:52.58), and the men's 4X400-meter relay team of Brown, Mahlakoane, Stephen Holland and Sten Sepp finished fourth in a time of 3:13.50, which is also the fourth best time in NJCAA.
Sepp added a seventh-place finish in the 400-meter dash to round of Cloud County's top male finishers.
On the women's side, sophomore sprinter Myflore Methelus improved on her preliminary time of 7.76 to run a personal record time of 7.70 in the 60-meter dash finals en route to a fourth-place finish.
Freshman pole vaulter Jessica Williams also tallied a top-10 finish, placing sixth with a vault of 11'7.1, and the women's 4X400-meter team of Shackera Samuels, Tanya Harcum, Kenisha Stubbs and Chanice Forbes placed eighth with a national qualifying time of 4:01.08.
Up next for the T-Birds will be their KJCCC/Region VI Championships, set for Feb. 15-16 in Pittsburg, Kansas.