For the seventh year in a row, the East Central University men's cross country team finished second to national power Abilene Christian Saturday at the 8-kilometer Lone Star Conference Cross Country Championships, hosted by Tarleton State University.
The Tigers, sparked by two all-conference performances from senior Koby Styles and junior Josh Stewart, posted a team score of 59.
Abilene Christian finished first with a 17, followed by ECU, Angelo State (79), Eastern New Mexico (100), Texas A&M-Kingsville (131), Tarleton State (184), Cameron (195) and Texas A&M-Commerce (207).
Styles, who came one place short of earning all-conference honors last year as a junior, clocked in at 25:09 on Saturday, just 36 seconds off the pace set by ACU's Nicodemus Naimadu (24:33).
Stewart, who was fifth at the LSC meet last year, earned all-conference honors for the second year in a row by finishing ninth in 25:44.
"We ran a great race. To finish second Abilene Christian for the seventh year in a row, is a great accomplishment," said ECU head coach Susan Payne. "Angelo State had a real good team and we did great holding them off for second."
Koby Styles, Stewart and Angelo State's Thomas Veal (10th place) were the only three Americans to nab all-conference recognition.
A big factor in the Tigers' second-place effort were four other runners finishing in the top 18.
John Sutrick was 12th with a time of 26:30 and Kolin Styles was 14th in 26:37. Matt Appelman took 17th in 26:52 and Jacob Bussell ended up 18th in 26:57.
"John had a great day as did Kolin. Matt and Jacob were right there together too," Payne said. "We had six people under 27 minutes, which were excellent times."
Also running for the Tigers were : Jim Sutrick, 23rd in 27:27; Wade Floyd, 27th in 27:46; Brandon Coats, 35th in 28:48; and Tyler Jackson, 51st in 30:53.
ACU claimed the first, second, third, fifth and sixth-place spots.
ECU's Betty Hernandez earned all-conference recognition with a seventh-place effort in 22:41.0 on the 6k course.
But the injury-plagued Lady Tigers were forced to settle for 10th place out of 12 teams.
"Betty got out fast. She was third at the first mile mark and was steady," said Payne. "We've been trying to get her out to a fast start. That was her best time ever in a 6k."
Abilene Christian won the event with a team score of 45, followed by Angelo State (80), Central Oklahoma (93), West Texas A&M (102), Eastern New Mexico (163), Tarleton State (167), Texas A&M-Kingsville (190), Midwestern State (199), Texas A&M-Commerce (206), ECU (210), Southwestern Oklahoma State (223) and Southeastern Oklahoma State (398).
ACU's Loice Cheboi set the pace with a time of 21:38, while SWOSU's Rachel Ingram was second in 21:55.
Also for the Lady Tigers, Angela Ingram finished 36th in 24:55 and teammate Valerie Navarro was 50th in 25:30.
"Valerie and Angela ran real well," Payne said. "We had some individuals have some great efforts, we just didn't fare as well as a team. We had two Alex (Kirkpatrick) with a bad hip and Jenna (Burns) with a lower leg injury."
Kirkpatrick finished 55th in 25:50; Robin Baker was 62nd in 26:20; Sarah Brunk ended up 66th in 26:41; Amie Schmidt took 67th in 26:42; and Burns was 79th in 27:45.
The Lady Tigers and Tigers will compete in the NCAA Division II Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Central Missouri State in Warrensburg, Mo