The Fort Hays State cross country program will host the eighth edition of the FHSU Tiger Open this Saturday (Oct. 12) at Sand Plum Nature Trail just outside Victoria, Kan. More than 540 student-athletes representing 36 institutions are currently registered to participate in this year's event. Festivities are set to begin at 8:50 a.m. with the first race starting at 9 a.m. A full schedule can be found below.
The Tigers will take on 12 other Division II programs Saturday, including two nationally ranked schools. Colorado School of Mines enters the weekend ranked No. 1 in the country on the men's side and third nationally on the women's side, while the women's team from Southwest Baptist currently ranks 11th in the USTFCCCA National Coaches' Poll.
The event will once again be split into two divisions, the Black Race and the Gold Race. The Tigers and the rest of the NCAA programs will run in the Gold races while the majority of the NAIA and NJCAA programs in attendance will compete in the Black races.
Sand Plum Nature Trail is one of the finest cross country courses in the Midwest, located 10 miles east of Hays. The course is a private trail designed specifically to host cross country events. The course traverses through North Fork Creek and provides beautiful views of the Cathedral of the Plains in the background.
The women will tackle the five-kilometer course at Sand Plum Nature Trail, while both men's races will be eight kilometers in distance.
Abigail Stewart has led the Tigers to the finish line in both official races this season, finishing second in the Bronco Stampede and the Emporia State Invitational. Brooke Navarro, Tessa Durnell and Averi Wilson have also been in the top five for the Tigers in each race this season.
The men's team has seen seven different runners contribute to the scoring five this season, with three Tigers finishing in the top five twice. Justin Moore paced the team in their last race, finishing seventh at the Emporia State Invitational. Israel Barco inched out several teammates at the Bronco Invitational, where the Tigers took the team title with a perfect team score of 15. Barco's winning time of 26:35.7 is the fastest 8K time for a Tiger this season.