VICTORIA — Yessenia Gonzales wasn’t going to let a little bit of mud spoil her last time running in the Tiger Open.

The senior led the Tigers’ women’s cross country team with a top-15 finish, placing 13th in the Gold 5-kilometer race in 18:49.9 on Saturday at Sand Plum Nature Trail. 

Rain fall over the last week made the course a little more difficult than usual to navigate through, but the weather cooperated on Saturday with the temperature in 50s.

“Overall day, I was pretty happy,” Gonzales said. “The weather was beautiful, it was just super muddy. We had to change our course because of the rain we got over the week, so that was a little different.

“I thought it was going to be muddy, so it was what I expected. It was a little challenging, more challenging than usual.”

Gonzales said she was glad to make the most out of her last time competing at the Tigers’ home meet.

“Our track runners come out, our locals come out, people from the school come out and just cheer us on,” she said. “It feels so good when you run past the tunnel of Fort Hays supporters. It’s just awesome. I love it.”

The Tigers’ women’s team placed ninth out of the 16-team field while the men were seventh out of 17 teams.

Israel Barco had the best finish for the FHSU men in the Gold 8K race, taking 36th in 25:52.7 while Alex Barbosa was 39th in 25:59.2.

On the women’s side, the next best Fort Hays finisher after Gonzales was Abigail Stewart, who placed 27th in 19:23.3.

Adams State’s Sadie Baker won the women’s Gold 5K in 17:57.7 while the men’s 8K gold was won by Missouri Southern’s Gidieon Kimutai in 24:54.8.