Jimmies’ standout Reyes shines at national meet
Aleona Reyes reached rarified air on Saturday.
Reyes was running in eighth with 800 meters left, but ran out of steam late. She still placed 13th out of 319 runners. It was the third straight national meet she’s placed in the top 30.
“All in all, this was probably the best race of her career,” women’s cross country coach Jim Clark said. “She beat some good runners, including a couple who got her earlier in the year.
“I don’t think she was outside the top 20 in the whole race.”
Reyes, who posted a time of 18 minutes and 14 seconds, joined fellow star Katie Conlon as the only three-time cross country All-American for the Jimmies. Reyes was 12th as a sophomore and 25th last year.
The race was held on a challenging course and run in 26 degrees with a stiff wind.
Three other Jimmies competed in the NAIA national meet, which was held in Lawrence, Kan.
Sophomore Sam Goff placed 111th in a time of 19:18 and freshman Christa Lysne (19:37) was 152nd despite falling early in the race.
“Sam and Christa both finished superb seasons. To finish in the top one-third-to-half of this quality field is a feat,” Clark said. “I was very proud of all three. I told them they are all low-maintenance runners on race day.
“They get focused and run hard.”
It was the sixth straight year the Jimmies have had an All-American.
Andre Aguinaga represented the Jimmie men, but the cold weather seemed to have an effect. He finished 296th out of 313 runners, although just qualifying was an accomplishment.
“It was really cold and he didn’t have any extra clothing. … It was almost like he was trying to be a tough wrestler and didn’t want to do it,” men’s coach Ed Crawford said. “Subtle little things can make a difference in a way. It’s all a learning experience for him.”
Aguinaga also competes in wrestling for the Jimmies, but Crawford remains high on his running potential.
“He has a lot of natural talent. You look at his season as a whole, it was pretty phenomenal,” Crawford said. “Hopefully, he uses this as a springboard for next year because he has the potential to be pretty good.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org