GREENSBORO (September 29, 2018) – The damaging rain from Hurricane Florence that hit the Carolinas two weeks ago played a major part in keeping the men's and women's North Carolina A&T cross country teams off the trails for four weeks. Apparently, preparation during that time away from competition did some good.
Both teams were winners at the 35th Annual Greensboro XC Invitational Saturday at Hagan Stone Park. The men and women claimed their second straight Greensboro XC Invite titles as both teams claimed first place last season.
A year ago, the women posted 23 points to win the event. This season, they went even lower scoring 18 points to beat out Fayetteville State (62) and Saint Augustine’s (93) and N.C. Central at (109). The men scored a meet-low 23 points a year after scoring 41 points. They won with ease with the closest team, N.C. Central, 70 points off the pace.
N.C. Wesleyan (98), Saint Augustine’s (117), and Livingstone College (130) rounded out the top-5.
“I am very proud of how we competed as a team this weekend,” said Duane Ross, N.C. A&T’s director of track and field programs. “Our men and women are getting their rhythm after not competing for four weeks.”
All seven Aggie female runners finished in the top-15 with five Aggies placing in the top-6. Junior G' Jasmyne Butler set a new school record for the second straight competition running the 5k event in 19:10.08 to win the Greensboro XC invite a year after finishing second. Freshman Regan Kimtai claimed the individual title on the men's side for the Aggies. He crossed the finish line in 22:56.77 in the 8k event. Kimtai had a third-place finish in his collegiate debut four weeks ago at Elon. Three other Aggies, freshman Morris Kimble (third), junior Marquis McGee (fifth) and junior Dequan Maddox (sixth), joined Kimtai in the top-6.
For Butler, it was her first career win after three career second-place finishes. Junior Kristoni Barnes crossed the line second at 19:44.01 after finishing fourth last season on the women's side. Fayetteville State runner Nelly Kandie kept the Aggies from claiming the entire top-5 as she finished third in 20:10.45. Junior Camille Martin (21:06.94) edged out teammate and freshman Monzerad Creary (21:07.81) at the line to round out the top-5. Freshman Shalah Means was the Aggies fifth runner to cross the finish line coming in sixth with a time of 21:18.24. Junior Khadijah Reid (22:00.43) finished ninth and freshman Paris Hunter (22:44.21) finished 14th.
The men had six runners finish in the top-15. Kimble crossed the line in 26:56.30, while McGee rounded out the top-5 with a time of 27:47.87.
“It’s always good to come away with a win, but to add our individual wins on both sides is definitely a confidence booster for our team and staff,” said Ross. "We will enjoy our victory today and get ready for the next competition because they only get more competitive from this point on. We’re looking forward to it.”
N.C. A&T will return to action next week as they travel to the Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. to run in the Robert Shumake HBCU Challenge on Oct. 6. The men are the reigning four-time champions. The men start at 9:30 a.m., with the women’s race to follow at 10:05 a.m.