SMYRNA, Del. (October 28, 2017) – The North Carolina A&T women’s cross country team had their best showing in almost a decade at the MEAC Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships Saturday morning at the Delaware State University Outreach and Research Center.
Meanwhile, the Aggie men dropped down from their normal top-3 finish at the conference cross country championships. The men placed fifth to finish outside the top-3 for the first time in six years.
There were some things that stayed the same on Saturday. The Florida A&M won the women’s title for the sixth straight season topping the competition with 46 points followed by Hampton (63), Norfolk State (99), N.C. A&T (122) and Morgan State (132) in the top-5.
The Aggies had a total time of one hour, 40 minutes led by sophomore Kristoni Barnes who finished in 18th place with a time of 19:24.5. Barnes’ time was a personal best in 5k events, blowing away her old fastest time of 19:38.2 recorded at the 2017 Cedric Walker HBCU Challenge on Oct. 7.
“I’m pleased with the performance of our women,” said Duane Ross, director of track and field programs. “Due to Imani Coleman being injured we only competed five women and they competed well with a good improvement from last season.”
Two more Aggies finished among the top-25 runners as sophomore Camille Martin placed 20th in 19:34.2 and G’Jasmyne Butler finished 21st in 19:39.4. Norfolk State freshman Martha Bissah had the top individual time at 17:16.3.
N.C. A&T’s men scored 124 points to fall behind champion Norfolk State who scored an impressive 25 points. The Spartans dethroned reigning three-time champion Maryland Eastern Shore who finished second with 84 points. The rest of the top-5 included third-place Bethune-Cookman (111) and fourth-place Florida A&M (120).
Junior Hakeem Mustafaa earned his third All-MEAC recognition on Saturday by placing among the top-15 runners. Mustafaa finished second as a freshman and 11th as a sophomore before finishing 13th on Saturday in 26:08.8. Sophomore Mar’Quise McGee earned his first-ever All-MEAC nod by finishing 15th. McGee ran an 8k personal-best 26:18.8. The Aggies next fastest runner was senior Steve Stowe who finished 27th in 27:40.0.
“Our men competed well,” said Ross. “They didn’t manage the course as well as they have in earlier meets, but the effort they put forth was good. We will get back to work and keep getting better. Hakeem and Mar’Quise ran well, but in cross country we need everyone to compete well at the same time.”