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

Women's Cross Country—Archive

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.

2013 Season

All-Region IV team: Aileen Gorman
All-Conference team:
Gorman (#1)

Day Date Race Location Time Results
Fri. 8/30 Earlybird Invitational @
Elmhurst College
Eldridge Park
Elmhurst, IL
5 p.m. 10th o/o 12 Teams
Fri. 9/6 Midwest Classic @
Olivet Nazarene University
Aspen Ridge Golf Course
Bourbonnais, IL
5 p.m. 8th Place o/o 10 Teams
Fri. 9/13 Illinois Intercollegiates @
Olivet Nazarene University
Aspen Ridge Golf Course
Bourbonnais, IL
5 p.m. 14th Place o/o 15 Teams
Sat. 9/21 Gil Dodds Invitational @ Wheaton College St. James Farm
Warrenville, IL
10 a.m. 11th Place o/o 12 Teams
Fri. 9/27 College of DuPage Invite St. James Farm
Warrenville, IL
4 p.m. 12th Place o/o 17 Teams
Sat. 10/5 Warrior Invitational @
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Greenfield Park
West Allis, WI
11 a.m. 17th Place o/o 29 Teams
Sat. 10/19 Brooks Invitational @
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Lake Breeze Golf Course
Winneconne, WI
10:30 a.m. 35th Place o/o 37 Teams
Sat. 10/26 Skyway Conference @ Moraine Valley Community College
Palos Hills, IL 10 a.m. 2nd Place o/o 5 Teams
Sat. 11/2 NJCAA Region IV Championships @
Joliet Junior College
 Channahon, IL 11 a.m. 4th Place o/o 7 Teams
(National qualifiers: Jessica Flores and Aileen Gorman)
Sat. 11/9 NJCAA Championships @
Iowa Central College
Fort Dodge, IA 10 a.m. Aileen Gorman- 50/281 (19:49)
Jessica Flores- 208/281 (22:05)

2012 Season

Day Date Race Location Time Results
Fri. 8/31 Earlybird Invitational @
Elmhurst College
Eldridge Park
Elmhurst, IL
5 p.m. 12th o/o 16 Teams
Katie Burke-93rd (17:59.6)
Diana Dinh-97th (18:11.1)
Angela Flores-113th (18:43.4)
Maritza Najera-129th (19:23)
Amanda Gerzon-139th (19:59)
Nancy Ibarra-144th (20:22.7)
Fri. 9/7 Midwest Classic @
Olivet Nazarene University
Aspen Ridge Golf Course
Bourbonnais, IL
5 p.m. 10th o/o 11 Teams
Fri. 9/14 Illinois Intercollegiates @
Illinois State University
University Golf Course
Normal, IL
5 p.m. Katie Burke- 22:19
Diana Dinh- 23:01
Angela Flores- 23:52
Amanda Gerzon- 24:33
Sat. 9/22 Wheaton Invitational @ Wheaton College St. James Farm
Warrenville, IL
10 a.m. 10th o/o 10 Teams
Fri. 9/28 College of DuPage-Puma Invite St. James Farm
Warrenville, IL
4 p.m. 7th o/o 8 Teams
Sat. 10/6 Warrior Invite @
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Greenfield Park
West Allis, WI
Noon 9th o/o 14 Teams
Sat. 10/13 Brooks Invitational @
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Lake Breeze Golf Course
Winneconne, WI
10:30 a.m. 37th o/o 37 Teams
Sat.  10/20
Skyway Conference @ Moraine Valley Community College Palos Hills Golf Club
Palos Hills, IL
10 a.m. 4th o/o 7 Teams
Team Results
Sat. 10/27 NJCAA Region IV Championships @
Sauk Valley Community College
Dixon, IL 11 a.m. 5th o/o 7 Teams
Sat. 11/10 NJCAA Championships @
Rend Lake College

February 25, 2013
Runners honored for academic performance

Four members of the cross country team earned 2012 Academic All-NJCAA honors from the National Junior College Cross Country Coaches Association for their outstanding work in the classroom.

Phil Culbertson, Rich Ferneau, Aaron Spengler, and Diana Dinh were recognized for academic achievement for the fall 2012 semester. Culbertson also earned the honor in 2011.

In addition, the men’s team earned Academic All-NJCAA Team designation, ranking 18th among Division I colleges. Culbertson, Ferneau, Spengler, Adam Gurke, and Eugene Rivera comprised the academic team.

The women’s team also earned recognition as the 24th ranked team in Division I. This is the first time that both teams have been ranked in the top 25 in the same season.

The Moraine Valley cross country program has fielded 36 Academic All-Americans/Academic 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 2, 2012
Cyclones lay solid base for bright future
The 2012 season is in the books for the young Cyclones and will be looked upon as a year of experience and a strong base upon which to build.

“The future is indeed bright for the women,” said Mark Horstmeyer, who completed his 13th season as head coach. “The girls gained a lot of racing experience that should carry over into the off-season so they know how much they will need to do to prepare for what could be a very, very good year next fall.”

There were a lot of positives for the team consisting of first-year runners, according to their coach. One of the most important was that team members showed they can run well as a “pack.” Their times from race to race were consistent. “Despite awful racing conditions, they remained solid in their effort. They could have spent the season dwelling on a lot of ‘what-ifs’, but they didn’t. "We had our share of injuries and illness, so we were never truly healthy during the season, and yet that didn’t deter them from giving their all every time out. They were competitive, and with that kind of attitude we can certainly help them build a bright future,” Horstmeyer said.

Diana Dinh (Sandburg) led the charge for the Cyclones from week to week followed by Amanda Gerson (Stagg), Maritza Najera (Thornton), Angela Flores (Argo), Alexis Vanoskey (Shepard), Nancy Ibarra (Eisenhower), and Sury Rosete (Argo).

“Their work ethic was impressive despite every one of them having to deal with some kind of nagging injury or illness. We asked a lot of them, and they responded as best as they could,” Horstmeyer said. “They wanted to compete. They wanted to go out there and help their teammates. Their times and finishes may not have indicated every week the success they had, but their coaches noticed their accomplishments. If they work hard in the off-season and stay focused and committed, they will enjoy a lot of success that will extend beyond themselves and their coaches. We are really excited for next year.”

October 29, 2012
Cyclones finish fifth in NJCAA Region IV championship
The Cyclones turned in another solid effort on Oct. 27 in winding up their 2012 season at the NJCAA Region IV Division I Cross Country Championship. They finished fifth in the seven-team race.

Diana Dinh led the way again over the 5K course at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon placing 24th out of 58 finishers in 22:14. Amanda Gerzon was next in 26th place in 22:18 followed by Angela Flores (27th, 22:26), Maritza Najera (33rd, 23:14), Alexis Vanoskey (38th, 23:49), Nancy Ibarra (40th, 24:05), and Sury Rosete (55th, 28:03).

“They really had a great finish to their season,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “Some of the girls ran personal bests, and that’s a terrific way to end the season. We also liked the way they ignored illness and injuries and just went out and gave it their all. That’s all you can ask. They made really good strides this season, and they have a lot of positives to build on for next fall.”

October 22, 2012
Cyclones finish fourth in conference championship
The running Cyclones turned in solid effort and finished fourth at the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Cross Country Championship on Oct. 20.

Diana Dinh led the seven-women contingent, finishing in 14th place out of 39 runners in 22:12 over the challenging 5K course on the Moraine Valley campus. Amanda Gerzon was next in 18th place in 22:47 followed by Maritza Najera (20th, 23:11), Angela Flores (21st, 23:15), Nancy Ibarra (25th, 24:23), Alexis Vanoskey (26th, 24:41), and Sury Rosete (38th, 28:31).

“I am really pleased with their effort. They gave it everything they had,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. "We still aren’t close to being healthy, but that’s cross country, and the girls accepted that and pushed on.”

Now the Cyclones are preparing for the NJCAA Region IV Division I Championship on Oct. 27 at Sauk Valley College in Dixon. “In addition to the Skyway conference teams, three more quality teams will be entered, so we definitely have our work cut out for us. I know the girls will be ready, and I know they will give it their best. They always do, and that’s all the coaches want,” Horstmeyer said.

October 15, 2012
Cyclones show game effort in soggy Brooks Invite
The running Cyclones put up a game effort Oct. 13 battling injuries and less than ideal running conditions at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Brooks Invitational, finishing 37th of 37 teams.

Diana Dinh led the six-women contingent over the 6K course at Lake Breeze Golf Course on a rainy, windy and cold morning, finishing in 429th place in 27:54. Amanda Gerzon was next in 457th place in 28:56 followed by Maritza Najera (461st, 29:09), Angela Flores (464th, 29:21), Nancy Ibarra (489th, 31:57), and Sury Rosete (499th, 35:33). There were 500 finishers.

“We aren’t very healthy—in fact, we had to leave one of the girls at home because of illness,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “So combine that with the weather conditions, and we just had to gut it out the best we could. I think they did that.

“Saturday’s race will be memorable not only because of the horrible weather conditions but also because of when the women started their race—two minutes after the men,” Horstmeyer said. “The men’s race was delayed by 45 minutes because of lightning which meant the women’s race would be pushed back by that same time frame. But UW-Oshkosh officials felt that if the women waited an additional 45 minutes, the race may never get off, so they decided to start the men at 11:15 a.m. and the women at 11:17 a.m. It worked!

“It really was fun to watch—first you had a wave of 500 men and then two minutes later a wave of 500 women. Because the weather was so cold and rainy, we told the kids just run across the finish line and head straight to the vans and to get warm and put dry clothes on,” Horstmeyer said. “Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Saturday isn’t the same, although our kids will be ready if it is.”

The Brooks Invitational concludes the regular racing season. The Cyclones will prepare for the championship season, which begins Saturday with the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference at Moraine Valley followed by the NJCAA Region IV Division I Championship on Oct. 27 at Sauk Valley College.

October 8, 2012
Cyclones rise to challenge with good team effort
The Cyclones confronted a challenging 6K course at the Wisconsin Lutheran College Warrior Invitational and finished ninth of 14 teams with another positive outing.

Maritza Najera led the Moraine Valley assault with a 50th place finish in 27:39. Amanda Gerzon was next one place back in 51st in 27:49, followed by Diana Dinh (55th, 28:05), Angela Flores (60th, 28:18), Alexis Vanoskey (66th, 29:05), and Sury Rosete (92nd, 35:00). There were 104 finishers in the field.

“We told the girls that we weren’t so much interested in their time as we were in how close they finished to each other. I think for the most part they accomplished that, so we’re pleased with their effort on a hilly course,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We still have work to do, but we continue to move in the right direction, and that’s what we need at this point with the championship season just around the corner.”

The women travel to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for the Brooks Invitational on Saturday to compete in a very competitive field. UW-Oshkosh’s invite is the pre-race for the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional, so there will be some nationally ranked teams jumping in. "I’m looking forward to the girls having another good outing,” Horstmeyer said.

October 1, 2012
Cyclones continue positive push
The Cyclones took advantage of ideal weather conditions and familiarity with the 5K course to record personal bests and finish seventh of eight teams in the College of DuPage-Puma Invitational on Sept. 28 at St. James Farm in Warrenville.

This time out Maritza Najera led the Moraine Valley charge with a 46th place finish out of 85 in 21:50. She was followed by Amanda Gerzon (53rd, 22:11), Alexis Vanoskey (56th, 22:30), Angela Flores (63rd, 23:25), and Sury Rosete (82nd, 28:59).

“They just did a tremendous job for us. Their confidence is rising, and their teamwork is improving,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We were really pleased with their performance. This was Sury's first collegiate race, and she didn't know what to expect. Now she knows what she's capable of doing. Maritza just wouldn't be denied. She had a goal, and she just gutted it out. Amanda is amazing. She constantly has to deal with respiratory issues, but she just digs down and gets it done. Alexis is really coming on. This was only her second race of the season, and she just keeps dropping her times. I’m really proud of the work that Angela’s doing. She has a nagging knee injury, but she just doesn’t let it bother her when it comes time to compete,” Horstmeyer said.

“The neat thing is they know they can get better, and they understand what they have to do to accomplish that. I know they were pleased with their effort. Now they have something to build on, especially some of the kids who still have to deal with nagging aches and pain and ailments. They are accepting it and moving forward,” he added.

The Cyclones are back in action on Saturday at the Wisconsin Lutheran College Warrior Invitational, and they will confront their first challenging 6K course. “We're really excited for what we think the girls can accomplish. This will be an excellent measuring stick for them,” Horstmeyer said.

September 24, 2012
Cyclones bounce back at Wheaton College
The Running Cyclones proved that old saying that looks can be deceiving. If you just consider the team finish, you would miss what really happened at Wheaton College’s Gil Dodds Invitational on Sept. 22.

Although they finished tenth of ten teams, they turned in a solid performance and in doing so once again showed what they are capable of achieving.

Diana Dinh was the first to cross the finishing line with a 113th place finish in 27:45 over the 6K course, followed by Maritza Najera in 120th in 28:01, Amanda Gerzon 130th in 28:31, Angela Flores in 131st in 28:31, and Alexis Vanoskey in 136th in 29:03. There were 150 finishers in the field.

“Several things really stood out today for us,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “They improved greatly over last week as we knew they would. They showed how capable they are of running together and they showed us that they are nowhere near what they are capable of doing.”

The women’s focus was on finishing a strong 5K to prove to themselves that last week was just an off day, and “then we wanted them to finish the last 1K as strong as possible to get some understanding of what that race length means,” Horstmeyer said.

“I know the girls were really pleased with their effort as were we. Diana is still struggling with her allergies but is getting stronger and stronger as is Maritza. Amanda had her best race of the season, and that will be a confidence booster for her. Angela is just gutting it out right now because of a sore knee, and we are proud of her effort. This was Alexis’ first race because of an injury, and she showed a lot of potential. Most important, however, was the team effort. Their scoring finish was one right after another. That’s a great team effort,” Horstmeyer said.

September 17, 2012
Cyclones look to recover Saturday after slipping at ISU

The Running Cyclones took a bit of a step backwards at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships hosted by Illinois State University on Sept. 14 with only four runners “officially” crossing the finishing line.

“It was not the race any of us expected, especially the girls,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “So we just have to chalk it up to experience and move on and get ready for Saturday.”

Because of injuries, the Cyclones ran only five team members—the minimum number for scoring as a team. “Unfortunately, one of the girl’s scoring chip fell off her shoe during the race, so when she crossed the finishing line she wasn’t counted. I felt bad for her, but there’s nothing much you can do about it. I know it was a hopeless feeling for her,” Horstmeyer said.

Katie Burke, who had been battling a bad cold all week, still led the Cyclones charge with a 222nd finish in 22:19, an improvement on her performance the previous week. Diana Dinh, who has been struggling with allergies all season, was next in 241st in 23:01, followed by Angela Flores in 258th in 23:52 and Amanda Gerzon in 264th place in 24:33. There were 300 finishers in the championship that includes colleges and universities from all NCAA divisions, NAIA schools and community colleges.

“We just have to keep working hard, get healthy, learn something from each race, and remember it for the next time,” Horstmeyer said. “We have a series of smaller-sized races coming up over the next several weeks, and this will help us out a lot. We have a ways to go, and I think the team will learn a lot about themselves in the weeks ahead. I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond on Saturday.”

September 10, 2012
Cyclones continue progress at Midwest Classic
Neither rain nor lightning could deter the Cyclones from their appointed first 5K race on Sept. 7 at the Midwest Classic XC Invitational, where they finished 10th of 11 teams. The weather was not the only challenge the young Moraine Valley team faced as they were the only community college in the field.

"They acquitted themselves quite well," said coach Mark Horstmeyer. "This was the first 5K of the season for them, and it was also very competitive. We were pleased with the progress they showed."

Katie Burke (Sandburg) led the way again with a 95th place finish in a time of 22:25. She was followed by Diana Dinh (Sandburg) in 99th in 22:42, Angela Flores (Argo) in 106th in 23:14, Maritza Najera (Thornton) in 110th in 23:43, Amanda Gerzon (Stagg) in 114th in 23:59, and Nancy Ibarra (Eisenhower) in 125th in 24:42. There were 137 finishers in the race hosted by Olivet Nazarene University at the Aspen Ridge Golf Club in Bourbonnais.

"The race was delayed by over 30 minutes because of lightning, so the girls had to readjust their preparation, and I liked the way they handled it. The course was soggy from all the rain even up to the start of the race," Horstmeyer said. "I also liked the way they had a controlled start and stayed together. We need to continue to work on keeping it tight all the way through, but they definitely are heading in the right direction."

The women will continue to gain experience when they compete this Friday at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championship at Illinois State University. "This is a big race with Illinois colleges and universities of all sizes competing. This is a fun meet and gives the kids an opportunity to mix it up with some of the best teams in Illinois that are also nationally ranked. It will be fast and competitive, and I'm excited to see how the team continues to improve," Horstmeyer said.

September 3, 2012
Cyclones battle challenging conditions in first outing
The running Cyclones had to overcome high temperatures, humidity and tough competition at Elmhurst College’s Earlybird Invite on Aug. 31 to place 12th of 16 teams.

Katie Burke (Sandburg) led the way, finishing 93rd out of 166 finishers in 17:59 over the 4K Eldridge Park course. Following her across the finish line were Diana Dinh (Sandburg) in 97th in 18:11, Angela Flores (Argo) in 113th in 18:43, Maritza Najera (Thornton) in 129th in 19:23, Amanda Gerzon (Stagg) in 139th in 19:59, and Nancy Ibarra (Eisenhower) in 144th in 20:22.

“I was pleased with the effort in our first outing,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer. “This was the girls’ first collegiate race, and I think they now are beginning to understand what they will have to do to raise their game. They have potential and commitment. I think they also understand there’s a lot of hard work ahead.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how they respond to their first 5K on Friday. It should be fun for them. We’re excited to see what they can do,” Horstmeyer added.

August 28, 2012
New season, new team
The 2012 edition of the Running Cyclones is brand new. No one returns from last year. But don’t mistake newness with lack of experience. This year’s Cyclones crew is far from that, and shares one thing in common with last year’s team—they want to be in the championship hunt.

“We have all new faces this year, but I’m excited about our prospects,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer, who is in his 13th season at the helm. “The girls all have high school experience and come from solid high school programs, and that’s already beginning to reveal itself in our workouts.”

The team consists of Katie Burke and Diana Dinh, both from Sandburg; Argo grads Angela Flores and Sury Rosete; Amanda Gerson (Stagg); Alexis Vanoskey (Shepard); Maritza Najera (Thornton); and Eisenhower product Nancy Ibarra.

“Their work ethic is impressive. We could tell they put in time over summer to establish a base, so we have been able to build from that. They have responded very well to what we want them to do. We have a long way to go, but we are pleased by what we see in the early going. We need to stay healthy and get stronger, and I’m confident we will. I’m excited to see how they progress over the next couple of months as we get ready for the championship season,” Horstmeyer said. “It should be a fun season!”