Triton men return to the top

Unfazed by the windy conditions, the fifth-ranked Iowa Central men’s cross country program wasn’t about be denied in its quest for another NJCAA Div. I Region XI crown here Saturday at Lakeside Golf Course.

After serving a suspension the previous two years that kept them from competing as a team, the Tritons easily regained their winning form by posting only 16 points. No. 19 North Iowa Area (58) and 15th-rated Iowa Western (62) were next in line.

“It was definitely windy, but our guys still had some pretty decent times,” said ICCC head coach Dee Brown. “It really makes you wonder how fast our kids could’ve been on a nice day without all the wind.

“I was proud of how we ran as a team. There’s still a couple of places we can improve on, but we’re definitely ready (for nationals).”

Frankline Tonui captured the individual title for Iowa Central in a time of 25:07. Tahir Chakisso (2nd, 25:32), Dylan Eigenberger (3rd, 26:10), Blake Whalen (4th, 26:20) and Tyson Wieland (6th, 26:43) rounded out the Triton scorecard.

Tonui was selected as the Region XI Male Athlete of the Meet for his standout efforts. He also was picked to the all-region top squad along with Chakisso, Eigenberger and Whalen.

Wieland and Kyle Hosting (10th, 27:14) made the all-region second team for the Tritons. Levi Storjohann (11th, 27;14), Marquis Cox (12th, 27:19), Nathan Meiners (14th, 27:43), Bryce Elm (16th, 27:46), Eric Gikundrio (18th, 27:48), Colton Blay (19th, 27:48) and Travis Hamm (24th, 28:11) all garnered honorable mention all-region accolades.

“From our point of view, the biggest thing was trying to get out (on Lakeside Golf Course) and run in a home meet before nationals (the NCAA Div. I National Championships will take place here on Nov. 9),” Brown said.

Brown was also voted Region XI Men’s Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career.

Prior to the last two seasons, Iowa Central managed four consecutive Region XI titles from 2007-2010. In 2012, the

Tritons ran as individuals and would’ve won a title if allowed to accumulate team points.

Iowa Central turned in national runner-up performances in both 2005 and 2007.

NIACC was anchored by Jaime Zarate (7th, 26:53), while Cruz Barrera (5th, 26:22) paced Iowa Western.