Santino, Kiptoo highlight strong season opener for Cloud County cross country

The Cloud County men's cross country team has six runners finish in the top-20 at the Terry Masterson Twilight Classic
The Cloud County men's cross country team has six runners finish in the top-20 at the Terry Masterson Twilight Classic

HUTCHINSON, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College cross country teams opened up the 2018 season in fine fashion down in Hutchinson on Friday, with the men's team earning a second-place finish at the Terry Masterson Twilight Classic.

Hutchinson won the event with five finishers inside the top-10, giving them a score of 29, while Cloud County finished with a score of 38, which included three top-5 finishes.

Cloud County was led by a pair of freshmen as Kenyi Santino, a 2016 Olympian from the South Sudan, and Dennis Kiptoo finished second and third, respectively in the men's four-mile run.

Santino posted a time of 19:38.80, just six seconds off event winner Andrew Kibet from Hutchinson, while Kiptoo crossed the finish line in 19:46.79. Both times would have been good enough to win the 2017 Terry Masterson Classic, which was won by Cloud County alumnus Moses Dirane in 20:33.25 last fall.

The T-Birds received their additional top-5 from fellow freshman Saba Khvichava, who came in fifth after clicking off a time of 20:41.65 in his collegiate debut.

Thom Reynders (12th, 22:23.87) and Pike Valley's own Anton Reeves (18th, 22:58.33) completed Cloud County's top-5 scoring times with a pair of top-20 finishes.

Ablel Gebreselase (20th, 23:09.39), sophomore Burke Deters (23rd, 23:53.62), freshmen Ricky Cuvillier (29th, 24:33.39), Nicholas Corea (35th, 25:10.93), Lucas Keil (43rd, 26:02.93), Mason Harrod (45th, 27:41.73) and sophomore Jeremy Ragsdale (47th, 30:24.17) rounded out Cloud County's finishers.

"This race showed our youth where the guys didn't pack well enough to win," said Cloud County head coach, Drew Mahin. "We had plenty of bright spots across the board, but realize it's too early to be satisfied."

On the women's side, sophomore Sadie Jones paced all T-Birds as she finished 28th overall with a time of 23:21.50 in Friday night's three-mile trek.

Sophomore Rebekah Thomas, competing in her first collegiate race, followed in 32nd place with a run of 24:30.90 and freshman Reagan Emerson (27:23.50) finished 38th overall.

The T-Birds will look to build off Friday's performances when they head off to Colorado Springs next weekend for the Colorado College Invitational, scheduled to get underway at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 8.