EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T begins the 2019 season with a short trip to Elon University for the 2019 Elon Opener Friday night.
Twelve other teams will compete with N.C. A&T in the event with Campbell, Duke, host Elon, Longwood, Louisburg College, North Carolina, North Carolina Central, Patrick Henry Community College, Shaw, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington and William Peace.
The course is a hilly 1,000-meter circuit around the Elon intramural fields and adjoining grass as the event starts with the women’s 4k at 8:15 p.m., followed by the men’s 6k at 8:45 p.m.
Last season, the men’s team claimed the MEAC Championship for the first time in 36 years as three Aggies earned All-MEAC honors by finishing in the top-15. Sophomore Regan Kimtai finished second with a 10k time of 26:50.80 led the way for the Aggies.
On the women’s side, the team finished third, their best finish since 2009, and had one student-athlete to earn All-MEAC honors with senior G’Jasmyne Butler, who finished 13th in a time of 19:58.67.
The men’s team lost three runners from last season’s team of Chase Bonham, Dequan Maddox and Hakeem Mustafaa, while Coy Brown, Joel Freeman, Morris Kimble, Regan Kimtai, Mar’Quise McGee and Nicholas Pope returns for another season.
The Aggies also did an excellent job recruiting during the offseason. The Aggies added three outstanding runners in Felton Kwambai, Jordan Richardson and Devon Williams. Kwambai is from Kenya, a country known for producing outstanding distance runners. Richardson was an 800 and 1600 meter runner in high school. He won the Nash County championship in the 800 and 1600m.
Williams was an all-conference standout for four years splitting time between Terry Sandford High School and South View HS. He was a two-year All-Region selection for two years.
On the women’s team, the Aggies lost Paris Hunter, Camille Martin, Khadijah Reid and Kennedy Thorne, while Kristoni Barnes, Butler, Monzerad Creary, Nia Lundy and Shalah Means returns for another season.
The women also added some excellent talent. Rachael Kosgei transferred in from Middle Tennessee State. She finished 44th at the 2018 Conference USA Cross Country Championships in 2018.
The Aggies take a couple of weeks off before traveling to Cary, N.C., for the Adidas Cross Country Challenge on Friday, Sept. 20.