The Trinidad State Lady Trojans claimed the National Junior College Athletics Association half marathon National Championship on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
In what turned out to be a double win for the Trojan Ladies, following their win, Head Coach Lauren Masterson was named the 2020 Half Marathon National Coach of the Year.
It was a great day for cross country racing and for the Trinidad State girls.
The Trojan Ladies edged out the hosting Iowa Central Community College Tritons by one point to claim their first National Championship.
“The ladies made history today,” said Head Coach Lauren Masterson. “We made a plan to be conservative with the pace early on, and then close as hard as possible the last six miles. I will admit they made me a bit nervous when they let some runners slip away early on, but I never should have doubted them. They came charging by them in the second half of the race and closed the door on a National Championship.”
This year was Trinidad State’s first year competing in the half marathon event after reviving the TSJC running program in 2016.
The championship also marks the college’s first national championship team since TSJC joined the NJCAA 81 years ago.
Ashley Lagat, Sheilah Cheruiyot and Sharon Jesang battled rolling Iowan hills, and 29-degree weather for one and a half hours to claim the nation’s top spot.
Lagat led the national championship team finishing third in the 13.1-mile race in 1:29:13.8.
The top three finish secured Lagat’s place in the NJCAA half marathon All-American first team.
Cheruiyot followed one minute later to claim the fourth spot on the podium in 1:30:13.3, joining Lagat in the All-American first team.
Jesang completed the top-three times recording a six-place finish of 1:31:03.6, claiming her place on the All-American second team.
“The ladies made us all very proud to be Trojans today. Nothing about this year has been easy, and our training is never easy, but everything feels worth it when you go down in the history books,” said Masterson.