Freshman Jeremias Serrano Velez found the perfect way to announce his arrival on the college cross country circuit on Sept. 24. He beat the best.
Serrano Velez turned more than a few heads recently when he sprinted to a win at the Western Texas College Open. His win marked the first time in five years a Ranger College runner had edged out runners from perennial national XC powers South Plains and New Mexico Junior College to win a meet.
Serrano Velez, making only his second start at RC, made the victory look easy. He finished almost 10 seconds ahead of second-place finisher, Baptiste Depril-Dupre of NMJC. Over the course of the 8-kilometer race, Serrano Velez legged out an impressive 5.21-per mile average.
Depril-Dupre was among three NMJC runners to finish in the top six. South Plains' top two runners placed third and fourth, respectively.
Backed by Serrano Velez's historic run, the RC men's team powered its way to second in the meet's team standings. The Rangers finished with 29 points – just three points behind NMJC for the team title.
"They are definitely going head-to-head with the NMJC and South Plains teams," said RC head coach Kathy Graham.
Gilberto Palomo, Edward Njunguna and Azael Reyes added to the Rangers' success on the trail. The trio sprinted to ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively. Palomo completed the race in a time of 28:18.3, while Njunguna checked in at 28:34.2. Reyes, a freshman, posted a mark of 28:39.8
Denzel Vilsaint rounded out RC's scoring. He finished 14th overall at 29:03.9.
As a team, Ranger had nine runners place in the top 20 in the event, which was held on the campus of New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs. Johnbosco Muiruri and Luis Rios finished 16th and 17th, respectively, while teammates Luis Pina Galvan and Jalen Ledesma checked in at 19th and 20th.