Cloud County sweeps USTFCCCA NJCAA Division I Central Region awards

Cloud County Athletics
Matt Kinney, Sports Information Director

FORT DODGE, Iowa – On the eve of the 2020 NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, the Cloud County Community College cross country teams added some hardware to their collection as Awet Beraki and Patricia Koma would be named United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association Division I Central Region Athletes of the Year while head coach Drew Mahin would earn Central Region Coach of the Year for both men and women.

The awards come in a year which has seen both the T-Bird men and women move their way up into the top-three of the USTFCCCA NJCAA Division I Cross Country Rankings while both teams would win the 2020 NJCAA Region VI Cross Country Division I Title. In five races this season, the CCCC women would finish no worse than second as a team with four team victories (Terry Masterson Twilight Classic, Ollie Isom Invitational, Tabor College Cottonwood Challenge, and Region VI Championships) while the men would finish no worse than fourth in any meet and have a pair of runner-up finishes (Ollie Isom Invitational, Tabor College Cottonwood Challenge) before breaking through for a second-straight Region VI Championship.

Beraki earns the award despite running in just one race this season, receiving a COVID-19 hardship just minutes prior to the NJCAA Region VI Championships where the sophomore would run his way to a Region VI title. The win would earn the Colorado Springs, CO native NJCAA Division I Cross Country Runner of the Week with one of the top times ran by a Division I runner this season.

Koma’s Central Region Athlete of the Year honor comes following a year in which the Wichita, KS native would win two races and finish no worse than third in any of the five races she competed in while earning two Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Runner of the Week Awards, two NJCAA Division I Runner of the Week Awards, and one USTFCCCA NJCAA Division I Runner of the Week honors. Running a season-best time of 18:11.28 in the Region VI Championships, Koma would finish as Region VI Runner-Up on October 30.

Mahin earns the awards as both men’s and women’s Central Region Coach of the Year as his eighth year at the helm of the T-Birds has seen both squads looking to contend for a National Championship tomorrow morning with the award on the men’s side serving as the second-consecutive year that Mahin has earned Central Region Coach of the Year. Under Mahin’s guidance, the Cloud County men won their first NJCAA Division I Cross Country title in school history in 2019, with the 2020 women winning the first NJCAA Region VI Division I title in program history.

Saturday has the potential to be a historic day for the CCCC cross country programs as the men will be looking for their third-straight top-10 team finish at the NJCAA Division I Championships while the women will run as the top-ranked team competing in the meet following news this week that three-time defending national champion Iowa Central will not compete due to COVID-19. For the Cloud County women, it will mark the first time since 2013 that the T-Birds have fielded a women’s team at the meet and the first time under coach Mahin. Live results will be available at the conclusion of each mile of the respective races while a broadcast of the event will be available on a tape-delay premiering at 2:15 PM tomorrow afternoon. Links for both the live results and the tape-delayed broadcast can be found below.

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