Moraine Valley Community College || Athletics || Women's Cross Country

Women's Cross Country

February 20, 2014

A trio of Cyclones honored for academic performance

Three members of the women’s cross country team earned 2013 Academic All-NJCAA honors from the National Junior College Cross Country Coaches Association for their outstanding work in the classroom.

Diana Dinh, Aileen Gorman and Maritza Najera were recognized for academic achievement for the fall 2013 semester. Dinh also earned the honor in 2012.

In addition, the women’s team earned Academic All-NJCAA Team designation, ranking eighth among Division I colleges. Joining Dinh, Gorman and Najera on the All-Academic Team were Amanda Gerzon, Amy Johnson and Miranda Reyes.

The Moraine Valley cross country program has fielded 39 Academic All-Americans/Academic All-NJCAA since the program was reinstituted in 2000.

“These scholar-athletes are simply outstanding. They attend class full time, work part time and excel as athletes and students. Their performance on and off the field speaks highly of them. I am very proud of their achievement. It is a tremendous honor for them and Moraine Valley,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer.

November 25, 2013

Success of 2013 season depended upon newcomers

The 2013 cross country season was marked by a second place finish, individual achievement and major contributions from first-year runners.

Newcomer Aileen Gorman (Marist) led the way, helping the Cyclones take the runner-up spot in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference while garnering a host of individual honors. She won the conference title and was selected Most Valuable Runner and first-team All-Conference. Additionally, she was named to the NJCAA Region IV Division I first team and qualified for the national championship where she finished 50th among 281 runners. “For not having competed in cross country for a number of years, she simply was outstanding,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer, who completed his 14th year at the helm. “She worked hard and dedicated herself to improving every day. We are really proud of her leadership and achievement.”

Another first-year runner stepping in quickly was Jessica Flores (Argo), who also competed at the national championship where she recorded her best time of the season. “Jessica had to deal with painful shin splints all season, but we needed her to come up big at conference and at regionals. She just was determined to succeed. We expect big things from her next fall,” Horstmeyer said.

Other newcomers stepping up were Miranda Reyes (Queen of Peace), who was a contributor all season. “Unfortunately, the injury bug bit her at the end of season and that hampered her. But she dug in and just battled through it as best she could. We really appreciated what she contributed to the team success,” Horstmeyer said. Lex Mindock (Lyons Township) and Amy Johnson (Sandburg), two more newcomers, also were solid contributors, scoring much needed points at conference. “They gained a lot of experience this year. They now know what they have to do to get ready and get better next fall. They will be counted on heavily,” their coach said. Another first-year contributor was Tiffany Huntley (Dunbar), who also had to deal with medical issues all season but contributed greatly to the runner-up conference finish. “Tiffany has a tremendous upside, and she showed it at conference. But like many of our runners, she unfortunately had to spend too much time battling injuries rather than competitors,” Horstmeyer said.

Also contributing to the team’s success during the season were second-year runners Maritza Najera (Thornton Township), Amanda Gerzon (Stagg) and Sury Rosete (Argo). “We really appreciate what Maritza, Amanda and Sury did for the program the past two years. All three had school- and work-related issues that they had to deal with, but they refused to let that get in the way of helping us,” Horstmeyer said. “They are tremendous young women. They have represented our program and school very well, and we are very proud of them. They will be missed.”

November 11, 2013

Gorman, Flores save best for last

Aileen Gorman and Jessica Flores found the perfect venue Nov. 9 to turn in their best performance of the season—the NJCAA Division I Championship at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Gorman finished 50th out of 281 runners in 19:49, and Flores placed 208th in 22:05—both personal bests for their first season as Cyclones.

“Aileen was really determined to do well—she was disappointed with her race at regionals. We couldn’t be prouder of her. She beat all but one runner from our region under much harsher conditions than at the regional tournament—strong gusty winds that blew across a wide-open rolling golf course. Excellent performance,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer.

“Jessica also went for it. She has been battling shin splints all season, and when you add in the conditions Saturday, she came up big. We’re really proud of her. She just forgot about all the adversity and went for it. That says a lot about her determination and desire to excel,” her coach said.

“We told Aileen and Jessica before the race that Moraine Valley runners traditionally do well at nationals, and we thought they could too. They did not disappoint. I know they’re excited, and we are too. This will be a strong motivator for both of them to return to nationals next fall. They were outstanding representatives of their school,” Horstmeyer said.

November 4, 2013

Two Cyclones advance to national championship

Aileen Gorman and Jessica Flores, a pair of first-year runners, earned the right to toe the starting line at the NJCAA Division I Championship on Saturday in Fort Dodge, Iowa, after coming up big on Nov. 2 at the Region IV Championship in Community Park in Channahon.

Gorman finished fourth in 20:15 and was named to the All-Region IV team while Flores finished 21st in 22:24. As a team, the Cyclones finished fourth out of seven.

Following the pair over the 5K course were Amy Johnson (29th, 23:01), Miranda Reyes (34th, 23:15), Lex Mindock (36th, 23:26), Maritza Najera (41st, 24:50), Amanda Gerzon (45th, 27:42), and Sury Rosete (50th, 32:13). There were 51 finishers.

“We are really proud of Aileen and Jessica. They are to be congratulated for what they accomplished,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “I know Aileen was disappointed with her race, but this was a learning experience for her, and she still finished in the top five. I’m looking forward to watching her mix it up at nationals. Jessica just plain gutted it out. She has been dealing with shin splints most of the season, and she has been sick this past week. In fact, the first time she ran all week was on Saturday. It really shows the type of character she has that she just refused to let anything distract her. I know she’ll have a lot of confidence going into Saturday’s championship, and I expect a strong showing from her.

“The past two weeks or so when the team should have been peaking, most of them have had to deal with injuries. We all have been frustrated that it has hampered them at the worst possible time. Before the start of the race, we simply told them to just forget about all of the distractions, and just go out and compete,” their coach said. “They gave it their all, and I’m proud of their effort. You can’t fault them for doing what they could to finish strong.”

October 28, 2013

Gorman MVP; team finishes second at conference

Aileen Gorman became the third Cyclone to capture the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference crown on Oct. 26, leading her team to a runner-up spot in the team standings.

Waubonsee Community College took the team title with College of Lake County finishing third, Morton College in fourth and Oakton Community College in fifth.

Gorman raced to the win on the hilly 5K course at Pioneer Woods Forest Preserve in Willow Springs in 20:10. She was followed by Jessica Flores (13th, 22:19), Tiffany Huntley (14th, 22:22), Lex Mindock (18th, 23:24), Amy Johnson (22nd, 23:54), Miranda Reyes (23rd, 24:06), Maritza Najera (24th, 24:27), and Amanda Gerzon (32nd, 27:25). Gorman was selected conference Most Valuable Runner and to the All-Conference team.

“We are thrilled for Aileen. She ran a smart race on a tough, tough course. She had a game plan and stuck to it. She was outstanding,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We are pleased with how the team responded too. We have a lot of injuries that couldn’t come at a worse time than now, but the girls just dug in and did what they had to do. We’re proud of the effort.”

The Cyclones now prepare for the NJCAA Region IV Division I Championship on Saturday at Community Park in Channahon. “This will be an entirely different race with the teams and individuals trying to qualify for the national championship the following week. We can’t back off now. We’ll just have to bear down and get it done. The girls are up to the challenge. It will definitely test their mettle,” Horstmeyer said.

October 21, 2013

As lone junior college entry, Cyclones meet the test at UW-Oshkosh

The Cyclones took on their biggest challenge of the season when they traveled to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to compete in the Brooks Invitational on Oct. 19. When the last of the 509 runners crossed the finish line, Moraine Valley, the only community college in the field, placed 35th of 37 teams.

Aileen Gorman led the way over the 6k Lake Breeze Golf Club course ending up 214th in 24:34. She was followed by Tiffany Huntley (378th, 26:44), Jessica Flores (386th, 26:51), Miranda Reyes (437th, 28:04), Maritza Najera (461st, 28:54), Lex Mindock (471st, 29:28), and Sury Rosete (507th, 38:34).

“This was the biggest meet of the regular season and a great final tune-up for the women. It was a great racing day at a great race, and the team gained experience in what it’s like competing against some of the elite teams of the NCAA Division III and NAIA,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. "This will set them up well for the championship season. I was really pleased with their effort and gamesmanship.”

The Cyclones now get ready to host the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference on Saturday at Pioneer Wood Forest Preserve. “This is our new course, and it will be challenging. It truly is a ‘cross country’ course. It has hills and flats, and it will demand smart running. We’re excited that we can host our conference meet,” Horstmeyer said.

October 14, 2013

Former Cyclone standouts qualify for Boston

Moraine Valley will be well represented at the Boston Marathon next spring after four former cross country standouts attained qualifying times at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13.

Kevin Deegan (2:54:46), Matt Swiatkowski (2:56:58), Dimitri Dimizas (3:03:42), and Shannon McInnis (3:14:22) gained the opportunity to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon on April 21. All four runners were top performers for the Cyclones. Deegan (Brother Rice) helped lead the Cyclones to Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and NJCAA Region IV titles in 2004. He also was the 2005 conference champion and All-Conference and All-Region runner in 2004 and 2005. He led his team to two straight national championship appearances.

Swiatkowski (Sandburg) also was named All-Conference and All-Region in 2002 and 2003 and qualified for the national championships both years.

Dimizas (Richards), assistant cross country coach at Moraine Valley, was named to two All-Region teams and one All-Conference team and was a two-time national qualifier.

McInnis (Andrew) helped her team win conference and regional titles and an appearance in the national championship in 2003. She returned the following year as an individual qualifier. She was named to All-Conference and All-Region teams in 2003 and 2004.

October 7, 2013

Cyclones meet challenge at Warrior Invitational

The Cyclones took on a challenging course, weather conditions and a strong field to finish 17th of 29 teams at Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Warrior Invitational at Greenfield Park in West Allis on Oct. 5.

Aileen Gorman again led the way over the 6k wet, muddy and hilly course to finish 50th among 271 finishers in 26:07. She was followed by Miranda Reyes (102nd, 27:49), Lex Mindock (146th, 29:08), Amy Johnson (152nd, 29:19), Maritza Najera (211th, 31:49), and Sury Rosete (267th, 39:55).

“We wanted Aileen to just get a workout in because she has had some soreness in her knee so we didn’t want her to push it,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “She still turned in an excellent race. Miranda also battled—it wasn’t the best racing conditions. There was some lingering fog so it was really humid, and the course was muddy, especially through the woods. This course, even in dry conditions, is deceptively difficult. She finished strong, and that’s what we like to see.

“We wanted all of the team to not pay attention to time but just go out and compete and gain experience dealing with large numbers of runners. I think they did that,” Horstmeyer  said.

The Cyclones will take a week off from racing and then get ready for their last regular season outing at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Brooks Invitational on Oct. 19. “The championship season is just around the corner, so we can use the week to get some of the team healthy. We can use the extra week,” Horstmeyer said. “Oshkosh is a really good tune-up for us. It’s an extremely competitive field. The course is fast—it’s a lot of fun and great experience for our kids.”

September 30, 2013

Cyclones turn in good outing at COD Invite

The Cyclones continued their positive direction at the College of DuPage Invitational on Sept. 27 finishing 12th out of 17 teams overall.

Aileen Gorman not only led the Moraine Valley attack, but also finished as the top junior college runner over the 5K course at St. James Farm in Warrenville and crossed the line 27th overall among 167 finishers. The field included teams from all NCAA divisions, NAIA, Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, and NJCAA Region IV.

Miranda Reyes was next in 90th place followed by Jessica Flores (94th), Amy Johnson (103rd), Lex Mindock (107th), and Maritza Najera (127th).

“The girls had another positive outing. We were interested in seeing how they would respond in such a competitive field and actually a race within a race. All of our conference schools and all but one Region IV school were in the mix,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We still have work to do, but at the halfway point in the season, we’re progressing.”

The Cyclones now get ready to run in their biggest meet of the year so far when they travel to Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Warrior Invitational in West Allis on Oct. 5. “This is a tight and challenging course, and there will be 27 teams taking part, so the girls will have a great experience in learning how to race. We expect them to respond positively,” Horstmeyer said.

September 23, 2013

Cyclones continue improvement

The Cyclones took on their first 6K race of the season at Wheaton College’s Gil Dodds Invitational on Sept. 20 finishing 11th out of 12 teams and lowering their 5K times enroute to the finish.

Aileen Gorman again led the way over the St. James Farm course in Warrenville under ideal running conditions. She placed 58th among 161 finishers in 25:13. She was followed by Miranda Reyes (101st, 27:24), Jessica Flores (111th, 27:49), Lex Mindock (114th, 27:59), Amy Johnson (124th, 28:40), Tiffany Huntley (133rd, 29:13), Maritza Najera (146th, 30:24), and Sury Rosete (160th, 39:20).

“The girls had a really good outing, especially for their first 6K of the season. We wanted them to focus on finishing strong—especially that last half-mile or so—and they did. What was a pleasant surprise is that they had lowered their 5K times, and that should give them a boost of confidence,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We also had two of our women back from injuries and that will help us too.”

The Cyclones now get ready to resume their 5K battles at the College of DuPage Invitational on Friday, and it will be on familiar grounds. They return to St. James Farm. “This race will definitely be a challenge. It’s expected to be a lot warmer and more than 25 teams are expected to compete—ranging from NCAA Divisions I, II and III to NAIA, and a host of community colleges. This will make for tight racing conditions because some of the course is through the woods and the path is narrow. It should be fun, and the girls will have another opportunity to gauge their fitness against top competitors,” their coach said.

September 16, 2013

Cyclones take another step forward

The Cyclones had another good outing Sept. 13 at Illinois Intercollegiates finishing 14th out of 15 teams and improving their times from the previous week. There were five community colleges competing, and Moraine Valley was fourth.

Aileen Gorman led the way for the Cyclones over Olivet Nazarene University’s Aspen Ridge course with a 94th place showing among 165 finishers in 21:16. She was followed by Jessica Flores in 123rd in 22:47, Miranda Reyes in 125th place in 22:53, Lex Mindock in 146th in 24:12, Maritza Najera in 148th in 24:33, Nancy Ibarra in 155th in 25:19, and Amanda Gerzon in 159th in 25:57.

“I want to thank Coach Mike McDowell and Olivet Nazarene for making sure Illinois Intercollegiates would not disappear after Illinois State University said it was no longer hosting it. It is certainly an experience for our kids to race in such an outstanding meet, so they understand what they have to do prepare themselves to compete at this level,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We saw overall improvement from the previous week and potential of things to come. I like the direction we’re headed.”

The Cyclones resume action on Saturday at Wheaton College’s Gil Dodds Invitational at St. James Farm in Warrenville. “It looks to be another fast, very competitive race and our first 6K meet of the year. We’re looking forward to seeing how the girls respond,” Horstmeyer said.

September 9, 2013

Cyclones continue good outings

The 16th-ranked Cyclones had another good showing Sept. 6 at Olivet Nazarene University’s Midwest Classic finishing eighth out of 10 teams in steamy, sunny conditions. It was the first 5K race of the season, and for most of the women, their first 5K collegiate race.

Earlier in the week the National Junior College Cross Country Coaches Association came out with their first weekly ranking and listed the Cyclones in the top 25 after a strong showing at Elmhurst College’s Early Bird Invite on Aug. 30.

Aileen Gorman led the way for the Cyclones over the Aspen Ridge Golf Course with a 58th place showing among 125 finishers with a 22:13 clocking. She was followed by Tiffany Huntley (70th, 22:48), Miranda Reyes (76th, 23:09), Jessica Flores (86th, 23:52), Alexis Mindock (95th, 24:35), Nancy Ibarra (109th, 26:27), and Amanda Gerzon (116th, 27:51).

Coach Mark Horstmeyer applauded their effort given the steamy conditions, but noted, “There’s still a lot of work left to be done. I know the girls felt the same way. We saw improvement from last week, and that’s what we want. They gained experience running in their first 5K of the season against four-year schools—we were the only community college in the field. We’re back at Olivet on Friday for Illinois Intercollegiates when there will be a lot more teams and a lot faster teams. It’s exciting.”

August 26, 2013

Staying healthy key to Cyclone success this fall

Although the Cyclones have kept their core intact from last fall’s campaign, they will have to rely on newcomers in 2013 in their quest for championships. Five runners return with plenty of experience in racing against some of the top two- and four-year colleges and universities in the Midwest. That experience alone won’t be enough, but help has arrived with a solid group of first-year runners.

The top returnee is Diana Dinh (Sandburg), who led the Cyclones last fall. “She has put in the time this summer, so we’re expecting big things from her this fall,” said Mark Horstmeyer, who starts his 14th season as head coach.

Three more returnees who figured in the scoring for the 2012 team include Amanda Gerzon (Stagg), Nancy Ibarra (Eisenhower), and Maritza Najera (Thornton). Sury Rosete (Argo) also has a year on her racing spikes and will be expected to step up her game. “They all know what they have to do to go beyond what they accomplished last year. We will need their knowledge of racing and courses to help our first-year runners,” Horstmeyer said. “We need to keep them healthy which was an issue last year. If they can do that and continue to work hard, they will be pleased with their results.”

Leading the newcomers are Aileen Gorman (Marist), Tiffany Huntley (Dunbar), Miranda Reyes (Queen of Peace), and Jessica Flores (Argo). All have high school experience. “They have competed so they know what they have to do to get fit and prepared,” Horstmeyer said. “I really like their work ethic. They’re putting in the time, and they’re committed to improving. They’re doing what we’re asking of them, and I like the direction they’re going.” Also new this year is Alexis Mindock (Lyons Township), who will be expected to contribute. “She doesn’t have the experience some of the other girls have, but the potential is there, and we’ll work on getting her to realize it and capitalize on it,” Horstmeyer said.

“I really like how the girls are showing signs of being committed to improving. They are doing what we ask of them. They are headed in the right direction. We have to get them to be confident in their ability and know what their potential is. When they get there, they will be a force. We’re excited about our chances this fall,” their coach said.