GREENSBORO- The North Carolina A&T cross country teams had a good showing on Saturday at the Hagan Stone Cross Country Classic, in their lone Greensboro meet. The men's team finished eighth with a 2:28.47 total time in the 8k race, while the women's team finished fourth with a total of 1:49.02 on a muddy 5k trail at Hagan Stone Park.
The thing that I'm still elated about is that they're still competitive," said director of track and field programs Duane Ross. "That's what we've been trying to get them do since the start of the season--respond to the different level of competitions. It doesn't matter who's in the race-they're going to have to win it. We're not going to give them anything. That's the message that we're trying to not just let the MEAC, but let the country know is that nothing is going to be given."
Sophomore Saeed Jones led the men's team with an eighth place finish, posting a 27:35.32 time, while senior Kristin Rush led the women with a 10th place finish with a 20:18.72 time. Jones and Rush were each awarded a trophy for posting a Top 10 finish.
Sophomore Christian Harrison had the second-best finish for the Aggie men with a 29:04.92 time. Freshman Janay Ferrell continued to improve, as she clocked in at 20:30.49 for a 12th place finish for the women. The Duke and the Wake Forest Club teams took first and second.
The Aggies used the race at Hagan Stone Park to help them prepare for the MEAC Championships, as it gave them a taste of the volume of runners and the course difficulty they will face on Oct. 27 in Princess Anne, Md. Even with the strong showing, Ross will be working with his team to step up their overall performance so they can earn a better team finish.
"That's where we're losing the meet," Ross said. "We have our top two on the men and women's side. We need the rest of the team, the next three, to step up and perform. Cross Country is like that. It doesn't matter if you have top two break the world record, if the rest of them aren't close behind."
The men's team will look to return Paris Reddick-Simmons to the team in their last regular season meet next Saturday, while Darius Bogertey will be shut down for the season to continue rehabbing a knee injury.
The Aggies will compete in the Christopher Newport Invitational on Oct. 13 before taking on the rest of the MEAC in the conference championships.
"It'll be another great course," said Ross of their upcoming meet. "This course this week will be comparable to what we have in conference, so this will really be a good test for them."
Men's Times: Total 2:28.47
8th Saeed Jones 27:35.32
24th Christian Harrison 29:04.91
54th Neegbeah Reeves 30:33.13
55th Robert Dula 30:33.92
63rd Omozokpia Olumese 30:58.87
Women's Times; Total: 1:49.02
10th Kristin Rush 20:18.72
12th Janay Ferrell 20:30.49
24th Samira Johnson 21:27.96
46th Cameron Shackleford 22:40.94