XCountry Teams Finish Season In Competitive MEAC
SMYRNA, Del. (October 29, 2016) – There were two conclusions the North Carolina A&T cross country teams came away with after the 2016 MEAC Cross Country Championships at DSU Outreach and Research Center Saturday morning.
The competition in the MEAC is getting better each year, which is inspiring for the Aggies to get better as well. Secondly, with the number of middle distance runners the Aggies had running cross country this season, it will only make N.C. A&T’s indoor and outdoor track teams better.
Unfortunately, the Aggie men did drop off from their normal No. 2 perch they have held over the previous to championships to finish third. The women finished sixth.
The Maryland Eastern Shore men held their position, however. UMES won their third straight title in the 8k event with 38 points and an average runtime of 25:38. Florida A&M claimed the women’s title for the sixth straight year after totaling 53 points with an average time of 18:52.
Norfolk State highlighted the strength on the men’s side as they finished one point behind UMES in second with an average runtime of 25:53. As for North Carolina A&T, they posted 84 points for third with an average pace of 26:52. Hampton (115) and Savannah State rounded out the top-5.
Senior Darren White and sophomore Hakeem Mustafaa both earned another round of all-MEAC nods after finishing in the top-15. White closed-out his A&T cross country career with his fourth straight All-MEAC selection by finishing fifth with a time of 25:40. Mustafaa ran a 26:11 for 11th as he earned his second straight All-MEAC honor. Assisting the duo, freshman Dequan Maddox placed 19th in 27:10 and freshman Mar’Quise McGee placed 24th in 27:38. Then completing the top-5 for the men was junior Corey Aiken who found 25th in 27:40.
The ladies had an average runtime of 20:01 that garnered 126 points. After FAMU, the rest of the top-5 included UMES (60), Hampton (93), Bethune-Cookman (105), and Norfolk State (115).
Freshman G’Jasymne Butler completed her brilliant first season with All-MEAC honors. Butler shaved 10 seconds off her previous personal record with a time of 19:09 which was good enough for 15th. Behind Butler was junior Miranda Green, landing 21st in 19:43. Running in the No. 3 position, freshman Kristoni Barnes saw her PR drop from 21:06, which she sustained two weeks ago on the same course, to 20:12. Freshman Khadijah Reid also had a major reduction in her PR after she ran the course in 20:36. Reid’s previous PR was 22:04, which she earned at the start of the season. Completing the No. 5 position for the women was junior Imani Coleman.
“We didn’t do bad,” said Perry Cabean, the Aggies distance coach. “I thought the women actually ran better this year but they finished the same. The conference has just gotten better and we were just overmatched. There were some really good girls out there.”
Going forward, the Aggies will begin preparations for the indoor track and field season.
“Since we had more middle than long distance athletes on both sides, I think indoor will benefit us more than cross country did,” said Cabean. “I think we stand to do a little bit better in indoor than we did in cross country.”