ELON – North Carolina A&T men’s and women’s cross country team kicked off the 2019 season with the Elon Opener under the lights Friday night at Elon University. The Aggies had a strong showing despite only having two days of preparation before the meet.
The Aggie men finished sixth with 168 points and an average time of 140:30.0 in the 6k event. The top-5 teams included winner Duke followed by Campbell, North Carolina, UNC Greensboro and host Elon. The women placed eighth with 228 points and an average time of 1:26:36.5 in the 4k race. The women’s top-5 included winner Elon followed by North Carolina, Campbell, Duke and UNCG.
N.C. A&T sophomore men’s runner Regan Kimtai, who is coming off a superb freshman season where he starred in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field, placed 15th overall with a time of 18:51.0. Kimtai steadily moved closer to the top of the pack throughout the race.
He finished the 1k in 39th place, but between 1k and 2k moved up to second place and stayed in the top three at the 3k, but finally fell back to 15th to close the race.
Freshman Devon Williams and sophomore Morris Kimble finished in the top 50 as Williams finished 45th in 19:48.3 and Kimble, an All-MEAC performer from 2018, finished 50th in 20:01.07.
On the women’s side, junior Racheal Kosgei led the Aggies finishing in 50th place with a time of 16:10.4, while senior G’Jasmyne Butler followed closely behind in 52nd place with a time of 16:19.4 and sophomore Shalah Means finished 55th in 16:28.5.
“I think it was a good day,” A&T’s assistant cross country/track and field coach Ernest Barrett said. “We just started training two days ago. We didn’t get that 21 days of opportunity. This was a good evaluation of what we need to do.”
The Aggies were one of 13 teams that competed in the meet with 109 runners competing on the men’s side and 89 participants on the women’s side. The Aggies have three weeks until their next meet in Cary, N.C., for the Adidas Cross Country Challenge on Friday, Sept. 20.
“We got three weeks of training, keep on building the base,” Barrett said. “We will have them building their aerobic capacity and speed. When we run again, it’s going to be much better.”