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Fantastic finish East Central's Armando Saldivar, shown in action earlier this season, finished 14th at the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Saturday in Warrensburg, Mo. The Tigers finished third in the team standings.

Photo courtesy Gina Smith/ECU Sports Information
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Junior Armando Saldivar finished 14th while freshman Cale Eidson was 20th as the East Central University men’s cross country team placed third Saturday at the 10-kilometer NCAA Division II South Central Regional, hosted by the University of Central Missouri.

Saldivar clocked in at 32:36.75 while Eidson completed the race in 33:04.62 for the Tigers, who finished with a team score of 127. Host Central Missouri took first with a 105 while Abilene Christian was second at 119.

By finishing in the top 15, Saldivar earned all-region honors.

“Armando ran an awesome race. He was having some knee problems before the (Lone Star) conference meet,” said ECU men’s cross country coach Steve Sawyer. “But he came out and responded well and showed he was a good leader today.”

Sawyer was also pleased with Eidson’s effort in his first regional race.

“He did great to be the second freshman to cross the finish line. He was also the second freshman at the Lone Star meet as well,” Sawyer said. “He ran well and we’re really happy with his effort.”

The Tigers came within eight points of qualifying for nationals as a team. Only the top two teams from regionals will compete at the national meet as well as the top two individuals not on one of those two teams. ECU was also unable to qualify any individuals.

“To get third and almost qualify was huge. I’m happy, but it is bittersweet to come eight points away from going to nationals,” said Sawyer.

ACU’s Amos Sang set the pace with a time of 30:42.96, which was 30 seconds better than second-place Laban Sialo, of Central Missouri, who finished in 31:12.18. ACU’s Cleophas Tanui was third in 31:21.60.

For ECU, junior Daniel Kiptoo took 23rd with a time of 33:07.05. Tigers freshman Ezekiel Kissorio finished 41st in 33:41.46 and teammate Joel Dutton, a junior, was right behind him in 42nd place in 33:43.21. Junior Mitchell Haun was 63rd in 34:17.25.

Finishing fourth in the team standings was Truman State (Mo.) with a 135, followed by Cameron (138), Northwest Missouri (142), Eastern New Mexico (151), Missouri Southern (155), Pittsburg State (181), Southwest Baptist (250), Emporia State (266), Texas A&M-Commerce (270), Fort Hays State (302), Dallas Baptist (325) and Incarnate Word (334).

There were 116 runners in the event.

ECU women settle for 14th

at South Central Regional

WARRENSBURG, Mo. – The East Central University women’s cross country team placed 14th at the 6-kilometer NCAA Division II South Central Regional Saturday, hosted by the University of Central Missouri.

Sophomore Hayley Jennings had ECU’s best finish of the day at 23:36.24, good enough for 24th place, and sophomore Samantha Bartlett clocked in at 23:57.43 for 35th place.

“Our top two runners, Haley and Sam, ran great, but after that we fell off a little,” said ECU women’s cross country coach Steve Sawyer.  “Haley finished about 55th at the regional last year and fared much better. We’re basically all sophomores (except for one junior and one senior). I really think we can learn from this experience and do better next year.”

Also competing for the Lady Tigers were: sophomore Miranda Calxton, who was 76th in 25:00.18; sophomore Andrea McKinney, who finished 84th in 25:12.12; junior Jorden Earle, who took 95th in 25:27.47; senior Carina Clemente, who was 109th in 26:04.05; and sophomore Rachel Pratt, who ended up 109th in 29:30.77.

Abilene Christian’s Anais Belledant set the pace with a time of 22:14.43 to edge out second-place Anja Puc, of Nebraska-Omaha, who finished in 22:23.16.

Pittsburg State (Kan.) captured the team title with a score of 66, followed by Midwestern State (108), Missouri Southern (130), Truman State (162), Northwest Missouri (189), Dallas Baptist (208), Ft. Hays State (210), Angelo State (237), Abilene Christian (245), Nebraska-Omaha (251), Southwest Baptist (252), Central Missouri (290), Emporia State (290), ECU (298), Central Oklahoma (355), Eastern New Mexico (365), Texas A&M-Kingsville (464), Texas A&M-Commerce (497) and Newman (548).

There were 131 runners in the race.

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