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Mutai wins the Rocky Mountain Shootout

Skyhawks defend their regional ranking in Boulder

The Skyhawks put their regional ranking on the line Saturday at the annual Rocky Mountain Shootout hosted by the University of Colorado in Boulder.

The Fort Lewis College cross country team finished second in the men’s divisions and third in the women’s division of the non-Division I field Saturday.

“We had a nice pack on both sides,” FLC head coach Mark Dutro said. “This was a good test for us to see where we are at and how we compare.”

He said Kip Mutai of FLC, a native of Kenya, won the non-Division I men’s race in 26 minutes, 32 seconds. The course was slightly longer than 8 kilometers at Buffalo Ranch near Boulder, Dutro said.

“Kip ran well. I think it was his best race of the year,” the FLC head coach said.

Christian Gering, an FLC sophomore from Santa Fe, was the No. 2 runner for the Skyhawks. He was 11th overall in 27:48. Teammate Jimmy Mohrbacher, from Dakota Ridge High School, finished 13th (27:50). Joe Brenner of the Skyhawks finished 14th (27:51), with teammate Garrett Sapakoff 16th (27:54).

Brenner is from Minnesota; Sapakoff is from Littleton.

Dutro said the FLC women ran a strong race, too, even missing their usual No. 4 runner.

“Our No. 6, Helen Smith, she made a big step up (Saturday), Dutro said. “She finally turned the corner.”

Smith, from Ohio, finished 26th for FLC (25:17) in the women’s 5.8-kilometer run. Maddie Kruger (Lewis-Palmer) led the Skyhawks in ninth place (23:55). Teammate Alexis Work (Coronado) was 11th (23:58). Katarina Medici, a freshman from Pagosa Springs, was 16th Saturday (24:11). Alyssa Carman (Lakewood) was 23rd (25:07).

“It’s a tough course,” Dutro said. “There’s a hill called Jawbone Hill, and it’s a killer. And they had to do it twice. That hill is a separator.”

Regan Mullen of Colorado Christian was the women’s non-Division I winner Saturday (21:47). Mullen won FLC’s Tom Strandt Memorial Run two weeks ago, part of the inaugural Southwest Cross Country Challenge co-hosted by FLC, Durango High School and Bayfield High School.

Montana State-Billings won the women’s team title. Colorado School of Mines won the men’s team title.

heraldsports@durangoherald.com