Freshman Christian Harrison represents the future of a North Carolina A&T men's cross country program that has its sights on winning championships. Junior Paris Simmons represents the progress the Aggies' program is making right now. On Saturday, both men combined to help the Aggies defeat N.C. Central in the NCCU Invitational ran at the Sally Meyeroff Fitness Loop on the Duke Trail.
The men defeated the Eagles in a 4k relay format by putting together a combined time of 1:00.23.74 compared to NCCU's 1:07.30.05. The women's time of 1:13.13.49 was topped by the Eagles' finish of 1:10.24.29. Each runner ran four 1,000 meter laps in the relay event.
"I was very pleased with our overall performance," said associate head coach James Daniels. "We ran well considering we have only been practicing for slightly over three weeks. I was particular pleased with our men's team. We appear to be very solid and this could end up being our best year."
Junior Paris Simmons had the best lap of the day. He ran his first 1,000 meters in 2:38.48. He also had the best 4,000-meter time as he finished the entire relay in 11:39.47. Simmons did not compete last season because of injury. Harrison kept pace with Simmons on his first lap with a time of 2:39.39. He was the only other runner to finish the 4k race in less than 12 minutes as he posted a time of 11:53.97.
"Christian was very impressive with his times and how well he competed this weekend," said Daniels. "Simmons looks even better than he did as a freshman."
N.C. A&T also welcomed the return of Steven Liggins who redshirted last season. Liggins finished with a time of 12:09.03.
On the ladies' side, junior Janessa Benn ran the fastest lap for the Aggies as she finished her first one in 3:21.11. Kristin Rush led the lady Aggies with the fastest total time of 13:54.53.
"Rush looked very good and appears to be ready to make a strong challenge in the conference," said Daniels. "She finished runner-up as a freshman and was hampered by severe shin splints last year. Janessa Benn, Ariana Betts, and Samira Johnson look like they are going to really improve upon last season times. Jenea McCammon and Dot Jacobs competed hard for the program this weekend."
The Aggies return to action Saturday when they compete in the Elon Invitational at 9 a.m.
Jamar Jones (NCCU) - 2:41.66, 3:25.26, 3:28.66, 3:24.65
Chris Swepson (NCCU) - 2:44.00, 3:32.06, 3:37.90, 3:27.78
Brandon Addison (NCCU) - 2:27.46, 3:36.18, 4:01.07, 3:40.28
Robert Corbitt (NCCU) - 3:26.00, 3:35.38, 3:45.71, 3:43.63
Gregory Ropes (NCCU) - 3:06.69, 3:24.53, 3:33.41, 3:31.74
Nana Atakora-Bediako (NCCU) - 3:16.32, 3:39.18, 3:47.73, 3:35.66
Danzeto Cephas (NCAT) - 2:53.08, 3:06.48, 3:05.20, 3:21.51
Christian Harrison (NCAT) - 2:39.39, 3:00.74, 3:03.76, 3:10.02
Saeed Jones (NCAT) - 2:55.01, 3:01.23, 3:02.48, 3:07.10
Steve Liggins (NCAT) - 2:50.94, 3:04.71, 3:04.47, 3:09.15
Paris Simmons (NCAT) - 2:38.48, 2:56.74, 3:00.22, 3:04.03
Amber Brooks (NCCU) - 3:11.97, 3:20.53, 3:33.56, 3:33.19
Dreanna Wallace (NCCU) - 3:22.85, 3:28.81, 3:43.06, 3:40.53
Taisha Parkins (NCCU) - 3:29.53, 3:51.13, 4:07.75, 4:03.00
Regina Summerville (NCCU) - 3:13.16, 3:47.62, 3:44.37, 3:44.56
Sararesa Hudson (NCCU) - 3:31.53, 4:06.59, 4:20.59, 4:11.97
Delesha Conquest (NCCU) - 3:29.53, 3:45.79, 4:01.22, 3:52.13
Janessa Benn (NCAT) - 3:21.11, 3:29.38, 3:39.01, 3:38.04
Arianna Betts (NCAT) - 3:25.76, 3:37.22, 3:40.00, 3:50.00
Samira Johnson (NCAT) - 3:25.21, 3:37.39, 4:00.23, 3:38.63
Jenea McCammon (NCAT) - 3:29.36, 4:16.32, 4:10.15, 4:11.15
Kristin Rush (NCAT) - 3:21.27, 3:29.38, 3:33.16, 3:30.72