PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The Norfolk State men's cross country team still has the crown, but North Carolina A&T believes it is headed in the right direction in terms overtaking the throne. The Aggie men finished fifth at the annual MEAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
The women finished eighth, but Janessa Benn missed being an All-MEAC performer by a little more than a second. N.C. Central's Amber Brooks finished with a time of 19:46.96 and in 15th place, while Benn finished 16th with a time of 19:47.98. The top 15 runners are considered all-conference.
The NSU men won their fourth title in five years, while Hampton claimed the title on the women's side. But the men have the pieces to continue steadily improving.
"You always want to continually finish better than you did the previous year," said associate head coach James Daniels. "I think next year we will finish better than we did this year. Everyone returns except for one."
Danzeto Cephas is the only Aggie who will not return for the 2012. Cephas finished 34th a few paces behind Paris Simmons who was 31st and Christian Harrison who finished 32nd.
Benn had a breakout performance two weeks ago in Durham when she ran a personal-best 18:47.45. Benn's performance has the track program looking forward to the indoor and outdoor seasons.
"The women had an off day," said Daniels. "Right now we don't have as much depth as the men. We had some good performances throughout the year, but we looking forward to keeping at a much higher level next season."
Kristin Rush placed 23rd and Samari Johnson was 32nd. The Aggies begin their indoor season January 12-13 at Virginia Tech.