On the surface, Eastern New Mexico University’s cross country teams may not have seemed to fare all that well in Friday’s season-opening Buffalo Stampede, hosted by West Texas A&M at Canyon.
Still, first-year ENMU coach Eric Boll said his teams aren’t exactly in midseason form, and the men in particular aren’t at full strength.
“We’re not in top shape yet,” said Boll, who also coaches the school’s track program and gave up his football assistant’s position to take over cross country. “We came out of the race healthy. I was real pleased with the way it turned out.”
The Greyhounds were fourth out of seven teams at WT, while the women finished seventh out of eight. The men are running without injured Kenyans Nimrod Lelei (Achilles) and Felix Boit (knee), and Boll plans to bring them along slowly.
Another Kenyan, Kennedy Baiywo, led the Hounds at WT, finishing 13th out of 70 runners in 22 minutes, 25 seconds over four miles.
“We’re not where we’re going to be later in the year, but we’re not where we want to be either,” Boll said.
The top runners for the women at WT were Krystal Becenti, 28th out of 56 in 22:43 over five kilometers, and Jerri Martin, 32nd in 22:54.
Boll said the women are trying to build their program, while the men should have a chance to do well in the Lone Star Conference.
“I think we should be in the upper half of the conference,” he said of the men. “With the women, we’re just trying to give them experience and have them come together as a team.”
ENMU travels to a meet at the University of New Mexico this weekend, the second of only four on the schedule prior to the LSC meet at Greenville, Texas, on Oct. 20.