No. 16 Midwestern State rolled to its fourth consecutive season opening win netting 23 points to claim the team title at the 2013 MSU/Strohman Dental Stampede Thursday night at the Memorial Athletic Complex.
"This is the first time we've actually gone this hard and at race pace and we've done so much strength and base work," MSU coach Koby Styles said. "I didn't know how we were going to respond to that. The girls responded well."
Dallas Baptist junior Kelsey Bruce bolted out to a big lead to dominate the race from the starting horn, but darted past the turn to the finish line and still managed an 8th-place showing allowing teammate Cashlee Rayas, a freshman from El Paso to hit the tape in 15:21.1 for the individual title.
"(Bruce) is a phenomenal runner," Styles said. "She's one of the best in the region and will have a legitimate shot at being an All American. She was so far ahead that they didn't realize it and she ended up going off of the course and she still managed to finish in the Top 10."
The Mustangs packed up behind DBU's top two paced by junior transfer Gabby Ruiz, who took second with a time of 15:26.50 followed closely by seniors Ashley Flores (15:31.20) and Janel Campbell (15:38.10) and junior Michelle Krezonoski (15:48.20) while Emma Ramirez closed out MSU counters placing ninth with a time of 16:17.80.
"I was proud of the way they ran, but this isn't close to where we are going to be or where we need to be," Styles said. "It was 100 degrees when the race started and I think a lot of us felt it. Toward the end of the race, we wilted a bit especially in our top group."
The Mustangs outdistanced DBU by 20 points finishing with 23 points to the Patriots' 43, but the margin would close to 27 for MSU and 38 for Dallas Baptist if Bruce is factored in as the winner.
"We beat a pretty solid team in Dallas Baptist who's ranked in the region, but they are just going to get better as well and we've got to stay ahead," Styles said. "If we want to be able to accomplish what we want to accomplish, we've got to perform better than this. I know we will. It's early."
Other MSU finishers included senior Melody Caldwell (16:25.60/11th), junior Danielle Chavarria (16:44.20/17th), junior Lucia Trejo (17:05.00/22nd), sophomore Maira Salinas (18.00.20/33rd) and sophomore Carrie Finson (18:30.90/38th).
Defending Great American Conference champion East Central (Okla.) placed third with 77 points followed by Angelo State with 96 points.
"I was really pleased with the effort," Styles said. "This was a rust buster and to see where the summer training has gone. Now we know what we need to work on and where we need to go from here."
Midwestern State competes in the 5K UTA Season Opener/Gerald Richey Invitational next Saturday in Grand Prairie.