EAST GREENSBORO (August 28, 2018) – Friday marks the start of North Carolina A&T's cross country seasons in 2018 as the men and women travel to Elon for their respective season-opening meets.
Both teams will open their respective seasons at Elon for the second year. The men will start the competition with their 6k event at 6 p.m., and the women will follow with a 4k run at approximately 6:45 p.m.
“Our runners are excited, and training has been going well,” said Duane Ross, N.C. A&T’s director of track and field programs. “We’ll take one competition at a time with the emphasis on getting better each week.”
Of the 19 cross country members on the roster, eight are familiar faces from last season. Luckily for the Aggies, the majority of those runners posted some of the top 2017 times on the team. Senior Hakeem Mustafaa and junior Marquise McGee served as the No. 1 and No. 2 runners most of the season. Mustafaa enters the season with three All-MEAC honors to his credit and looking to make it all four years as an all-conference standout. McGee captured his All-MEAC honor a year ago.
The women welcome back juniors Camille Martin and Kristoni Barnes who were also consistent top-3 runners for the Aggies. Both runners ended the season with a season low of 19:24 in the 5k with Barnes edging out Martin by three-hundredths of a second. Along with Mustafaa, McGee, Martin, and Barnes, the Aggies will also return senior Dequan Maddox and junior Coy Brown on the men’s side and juniors G’Jasmyne Butler and Khadijah Reid for the women.
“The cross country MEAC championship has avoided us the last six seasons,” said Ross. “That is the priority for the year.”
With the help of assistant/distance coach Ernest Barrett, the Aggies have had three freshmen and two transfers on the men’s team to complement the returning veterans. For the women, they also bring in three freshmen to complement their strong returners.