Hutchinson CC Sports Information
FORT DODGE, Iowa – Freshman Conner Kaufman led a group of six Hutchinson Community College runners to post career-best times on Saturday at the NJCAA Division I National Cross Country Championships at Riverside Golf Course.
The Blue Dragons finished 22nd overall and was the fifth-highest Jayhawk Conference team on Saturday scoring 576 team points. It was the best finish for Hutchinson at Nationals since a 19th-place effort in 2014. The Blue Dragons improved six spots over last year's national championship performance and ran an average time of 27:28, nearly a full minute better than the 2016 nationals performance in El Dorado.
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Kaufman was the top Blue Dragon runner on Saturday with a 60th-place finish. Kaufman became the first Blue Dragon men's cross to break the 27-minute mark in an 8K race since Forrest Dreyer ran 26:55 at the 2014 NJCAA Championships in Lubbock, Texas.
Kaufman's time was 26:44.3. His best time entering the NJCAA championships was 27:09 at Fort Hays State.
Stark was Hutchinson's only other Top 100 finisher with an 89th-place time of 27:06.4. That bested his previous low time by 19 seconds.
Stiebens improved his 2016 NJCAA Championship performance by five places and nearly 36 seconds. Stiebens placed 143rd in a time of 27:45.4.
Gerlach was 149th with a time of 27:47.6. Clothier was 155th in 27:52.4 and Hansen was 171st in a time of 28:00.5.
Tony Ibarra was 241st in a time of 29:04.3
Iowa Central won the men's team championship with 65 points. Runner-up Central Arizona had 112 points. College of Southern Idaho's Eric Fitzpatrick was the individual national champion with a time of 24:45.
Allen was the top Jayhawk Conference team with a fifth-place finish. Colby, Cloud County, Cowley and Butler finished ahead of the Blue Dragons.