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Mato wins Fort Hays Invitational
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VICTORIA – It was an easy day at the course for Barton sophomore standout Lydia Mato. The defending NJCAA Champion rolled to a decisive win at the Fort Hays State Tiger Open Saturday – her second win in three meets this year.
Mato paced the Cougars, ranked No. 8 in the NJCAA, to a seventh place finish.
She blew away the field with a time of 17:44.5 on the 5K course at Sand Plum Nature Trail Course in Victoria. The next fastest time was turned in by Shianieke Watson of Iowa Western.
Friends University won the meet with 76 points followed by Allen County with 116. Barton ended with 185.
Barton probably would have battled for the second spot with Allen if not for missing its no. two runner.
Asha Douglas missed the meet due to illness. She had been Barton’s second runner the entire season. That proved to be a swing of about 70 points for the Cougars.
“It was a good meet for this group,” Barton Coach Dave Schenek said.  “We trained hard all week prior to the meet. After that you usually don’t run the best times of the season but our women were just off that.”
Holly Pierce finished 12th for the Cougars. The sophomore from Texas ran a 19:50.8.
Kaitlynn Tuey, a sophomore from Great Bend, returned after missing the Chili Pepper Festival last week. She recorded her best time of the season with a 20:47.3 for 33rd overall in the field of 133 runners.
From there it was a ways back to the fourth runner for the Cougars. Mariah Stein a freshman from Great Bend was 71st in 21:41.4. It was her best time of the season.
Buston sophomore Julee McAtee was the final Barton runner to score in 99th place – 81 team points. She ran a 23:19.0.
Emilykate Hopkins-Boyd rounded out the team with a 24:26.6.
Barton has no more scheduled meets until the Region VI Championships Halloween Day in Overland Park.