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Mato wins again; Barton second at Region VI meet
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In her next-to-last race as a Barton Cougar, Lydia Mato did what she normally does – win.
The sophomore standout continues to prove she is one of if the not the top distance runner in Barton history. Mato, a native of Ghana, defended her Region VI title over the weekend with an easy win, leading her team to a runner-up effort.
Mato won by 30 seconds as the Cougar challenged Butler for the title. Butler ended up winning the event with 58 points followed by Barton with 69. Allen County was a close third with 75. The meet featured five teams ranked or receiving votes in the NJCAA.
The runner-up effort for the Cougars was the highest finish since 2003 when the Cougars were also runner-ups.
Mato had little trouble in defending her crown. She took the lead and cruised to an 18:40.3 – 30 seconds ahead of the runner-up time of 19:10.1 turned in by Stephanie Barrett of Cloud County on the 5K course.
Texas sophomore Holly Pierce also turned in a Top 10 effort for the Cougars, placing eighth in 20:10.1 Barton almost had three in the top 10 as freshman Asha Douglas just missed out. The Florida native took 11th overall in 20:12.3.
Great Bend sophomore Katelyn Tuey finished 20th overall with a time of 20:58.6. Fellow GBHS graduate, freshman Mariah Stein, was 31st in a time of 21:22.1 to round out the scoring portion of the team for Barton.
Sophomore Julee McAtee and freshman Emilykate Hopson-Boyd finished in times of 23:05.5 and 23:30.6 for Barton. McAtee placed 64th and Hopson-Boyd 69th.
Mato and Cougars will be back in action at the NJCAA Championships Nov. 14 at Fort Dodge, Iowa. Mato will again be defending a championship in that race. Last season she won the NJCAA title with the third fastest 5K time in NJCAA history.
The last time the Cougars earned a top 10 effort as a team was in 2003 when they finished 5th.