LEVELLAND, Texas - The Iowa Central men's and women's cross country teams both made it back-to-back national titles this past weekend at the NJCAA Half Marathon Championships.
Stanley Kebenei defended his title for the second-ranked (Div. I) Triton men, clocking a winning time of 1:07.01.87. Kebenei, the reigning NJCAA Male Athlete of the Year, has now been named All-American 15 times, claimed 10 individual national gold medals and four team national crowns during his career at Iowa Central.
Jamal Boma (3rd, 1:09.50.36), Abbabiya Simbassa (4th, 1:10.53.33), Alex Deir (13th, 1:13.03.53), Anthony Plourde (17th, 1:14.24.37) and Levi Storjohann (20th, 1:14.44.87) were each All-Americans as well for the Tritons, who accumulated only eight team points.
No. 7 El Paso (34) settled for a runner-up showing.
"I'm so happy for the men's team," ICCC head coach Dee Brown said. "They have had a lot to deal with this year, and not being able to compete for a team cross country title each of the last two years has really put a big emphasis on (the NJCAA Half Marathon Championships). Most kids would have thrown in the towel and given up with the things that have happened to us, but I'm so proud of their resilience."
On the women's side, the top-ranked Tritons prevailed with just 15 points. No. 4 South Plains (18) finished second.
Jodi Miller (2nd, 1:26.57), Jamie Neal (4th, 1:26.44.40), Fionna McKenna (12th, 1:31.29.70) and Perla Gutierrez (15th, 1:33.28.80) all earned All-American status for Iowa Central.
Over the past two years, the Triton sophomore class won two NJCAA National Cross Country titles and two Half Marathon crowns. In addition, many of the sophomores also won an NJCAA Indoor Track and Field team title and was second at the NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last season.
"This was a fun group to coach and work with every day," said Brown. "They will go down as one of the best ever as far as I'm concerned. They had high expectations and worked hard to meet them."