Cross country season ends at NCAA Regionals

Junior David Mokone runs in the 2012 Sun Belt Cross Country Championship at Kereiakes Park on Oct. 27, 2012.

Lucas Aulbach

The WKU cross country teams put a cap on the 2013 season over the weekend with a performance at the NCAA Regionals that impressed coach Erik Jenkins.

The men’s team finished 23rd at the meet, while the Lady Topper squad finished 25th. It was the final meet of the year for the cross country teams.

“Considering the group we took and some of the situational injuries, I think we did a good job,” Jenkins said. “I thought two runners (junior David Mokone and sophomore Katie Lever) ran very well — both of them had personal bests in the longest races they’ve ran all year. We had good marks across the board, so I think the future looks good for us if we can stay healthy and stay humble.”

While neither team was able to finish near the top of the standings, some individual performances stood out.

Mokone finished No. 36 at the Regional meet in the individual 10K run with a time of 30:09.7. Freshman Peter Agaba finished No. 68 in the run at 30:51.6.

Lever was the standout for the Lady Toppers, finishing No. 37 in the individual 6K run. Three WKU runners finished in the top 150 in the event.

Jenkins said the good showing from some of WKU’s younger runners was a positive sign for the teams moving into next season.

“We had good marks across the board, so I think the future looks good for us if we can stay healthy and stay humble,” he said.

Saturday’s meet was the last cross country event of the season for WKU. While neither squad was able to take home a league title, Jenkins said he was still pleased with the performance of his teams, which suffered a few key injuries throughout the year.

“Obviously our mission is to go out and win Sun Belt Conference Championships and came up short on that,” he said. I think we had a solid team, but the name of the game is being able to stay healthy and stay humble.”

With the 2013 cross country season in the books, the Topper teams can now start preparing for the start of indoor track season. WKU will participate in one meet in December before the bulk of the season starts in January.

Jenkins said his runners will take a little time off to get healthy before hitting the track once again.

“Right now we want those guys to actually recover a bit — we won’t really start racing until about the middle of January,” he said. “It’s a totally different cycle and we’ve got to get prepared.”