WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Men’s cross country team has strong showing at Walt Disney Tournament

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By Dillan Straight

The Cavaliers Cross Country team is hitting its stride this season, recently posting a third overall finish at the Walt Disney Classic this past week.

Led behind a competitive sophomore team consisting of Brooks Ballou (24th place finish), Ryan Keene (23rd place finish), and Javier Segura (22nd place finish), the Cavaliers made their mark as the highest ranked community college team present, scoring 156 points in the event.

Drake University came away with the overall team win, as Florida Gulf Coast posted a second place finish ahead of the Cavs.

“It was a great performance from those guys,” said men’s and women’s cross country coach Mike Bloemker. “We ran really well as a team and that’s the important thing.”

Despite running against the elements of a heavy downpour, Segura clocked in at 26:39.60, earning some bragging rights in the process with a sixth-best time for a Cavalier in Disney Classic history, along with a tying for the third best time by a JCCC runner.

Coach Bloemker knows he’s got a great group of returning sophomore runners this season, and looks for them to only improve as the season continues.

“We got a lot of experience,” said Bloemker. “I have some guys who were red shirted, so it’s basically their third year here. It’s really helped on the leadership standpoint for the guy’s side.”

Fellow sophomores Kenne and Bollou finished out the Le-Mans-esc finish as Kenne clocked in 6.65 seconds (26:46.25) behind Segura to earn a 23rd place finish, along with Bollou at 26:49.73 earning him a 24th place finish.

Addis Kenae rounded out the group, finishing 31st with a time of 27:02.06. Along with freshman Kidus Bekele (27:52.33-63rd) sophomore Robert Segura (28:12.47-73rd), freshman Zach Palmer (29:10.19-113th) and freshman James Bowlin (31:24.98-173rd) is finishing out the squad.

“[Kidus] Bekele is having an unbelievable year; of the entire freshman class he’s making the biggest impact right now,” said Bloemker. “I feel really good [about Regionals]. I feel I have the best team in the region right now on both sides.”

“I think we’re a little better then we’re ranked; the women are ranked ninth and the guys are ranked eighth. I believe we’re considerably higher than that.”

The Cavs raced this Halloween as they were invited to the NJCAA Region VI Tournament in Garden City, moving them into contention for a bid to the NJCAA Cross County Tournament in Hobbs, New Mexico on Nov. 12th and the NJCAA Half Marathon Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia on the 19th.

Contact Dillan Straight, sports editor, at dstraig1@jccc.edu.

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