Cross Country Men and Women Win In Delaware
SMYRNA, Del. (October 15, 2016) – Just as they did last year, the North Carolina A&T men’s and women’s cross country teams both took first-place at the Delaware State Pre-Conference Invitational. The men concluded with 37 points, beating out Mount St. Mary’s (40), Coppin State (109), Wesley (124), Delaware State (129), and Rutgers-Newark (137). The women ended with 39 points, ahead of Mount St. Mary’s (52), Morgan State (68), Howard (115), Wesley (116), Coppin State (137) and Delaware State (168).
“I wasn’t expecting to win or to lose. I was expecting them to know who they were competing against and to try and beat them,” said Perry Cabean, the Aggies distance coach. “They ran as a team today, the men and the women, so I’m happy.” Both Aggie teams extremely ran close together in this meet; the lowest ranking was 13th for either team’s top-five finishers.
Senior Darren White led the men with a second-place finish in 25:58. Sophomore Hakeem Mustafaa followed in fourth with a run of 26:41, while freshmen Dequan Maddox (27:46) and Mar’Quise McGee (27:48) had respective ninth and 10th-place finishes. Junior Corey Aiken completed the Aggies domination with a 12th-place finish in 27:58.
“At these cross country meets it’s about how many people you can beat at the end,” said Cabean. “Corey Aiken moved us up to what had to be four or five points at the end.”
The women were excellent as they look forward to improving on their finish from last season’s conference championships. They were led by freshman G’Jasymne Butler who claimed second-place in 19:22. Behind Butler was junior Miranda Green securing fifth in 20:08. Freshman Camille Martin locked in eighth with a 20:36 time and junior Imani Coleman placed 11th in 21:03. The No. 5 runner for the women was freshman Kristoni Barnes. Barnes finished 13th by dropping her personal record to 21:06, a major descent from her previous PR of 22:13 (Adidas XC Challenge).
“I was really proud of how Kristoni kept up,” said Cabean. “She’s been having freshman issues with learning courses and learning training, but today I saw some glimpses of where she could potentially be. I gave her some challenges over the last two weeks and she has stepped up.”
In addition to adding a few more victories to this year’s accomplishments, both teams also got their much needed preview of the DSU Outreach and Research Center, where the 2016 MEAC Cross Country Championships will be held Oct. 29. Over the next two weeks the Aggies will simply fine-tune before coming back to race the course against the conference.
“I think they got a chance to see the course and now they know when to pick their spots. They know when to let up and when to dig deep,” said Cabean.