CHAMPS! Tritons, Bungei Earn National Titles

CHAMPS! Tritons, Bungei Earn National Titles

Kelvin Bungei led the Iowa Central men's cross country team to the national championship Saturday at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.

Bungei completed the course in 24:57.38, leading the final two-plus miles. He finished over 13 seconds ahead of runner-up Yonas Mogos of Iowa Western.

The Tritons scored 65 team points to place well ahead of Southern Idaho (91) and Iowa Western (95). 

"I couldn't be happier for our men's program. This is the pinnacle – when you have the opportunity to win an individual national championship and a team title in front of your home crowd, there is nothing more exciting," said Dee Brown, Iowa Central Director of Cross Country. "It gets people talking. Students, staff, administrators, volunteers are all now interested in cross country. They got to see first hand what these kids work for all year.

"It was a great team effort. After Kelvin and Pur our three through seven runners have been interchangeable all season. If one guy isn't feeling it, his teammate has picked up the slack. That is exactly what they did today. They banded together and picked each other up to achieve this unifying goal they have had since August 1."

Along with Bungei's gold-medal performance, Pur Biel was 13th overall and Hunter Klimek finished 14th. Biel clocked a time of 26:01.28 and Klimek 26:01.96 to earn NJCAA All-American honors with Bungei.

"What a performance by our guys on a windy and cold day," said Nick Ekel, Iowa Central head coach. "It was very impressive to watch the team be assertive from the start of the race and hold on to secure the fourth men's national team championship in program history. Each and every one of our guys went out today and did their job to the best of their ability, which is all that we can ask as a coaching staff.

"Kelvin Bungei ran a smart, patient race today, as he hung with the lead pack until he was ready to make his bid for the finish line. His race today was a textbook example of how to compete in cold and windy conditions. To be the second male Triton to win an NJCAA Individual Championship is a remarkable accomplishment.

Noah Friske placed 17th in 26:13.10 and Demetrius Kaquatosh was 24th in 26:35.23. Mohamed Mohamud was 34th in 27:07.31 and Jordan Hustak finished 36th in 27:10.86. 

The title is the fourth in program history for Iowa Central. 

"We would like to thank Lakeside Golf Course, Fort Dodge Parks & Recreation, Iowa Central Community College, the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitor Bureau, our sponsors, and our volunteers who all collaborated to produce this event for the NJCAA student-athletes and coaches," Ekel said. "This event would be impossible to pull off without their time and help."