TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The eyes of cross country enthusiasts around the country were fixed on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday as the best collegiate men’s and women’s teams in the country participated in the annual Pre-Nationals Meet.Two course records were broken in impressive fashion and some of the best teams in the country lived up to their billing on what proved to be on a perfect day for racing.
Women’s 6,000 Meter Blue Race Recap:
The first race of the day was dominated by the No. 1 nationally-ranked Washington Huskies, as the team placed four runners in the top 10 and had all five of their runners score within the top 16 spots in the highly-competitive race to finish with an overall score of 36.No. 13 ranked Villanova raced to a second-place finish with 126 points, followed by Minnesota in third place with 198 points.No. 9 Michigan State finished with 214 total points to place fourth overall No. 15 Florida finished with a score of 233 to round out the top five teams.
North Carolina’s Brianna Felnagle showed why she is one of the best collegiate runners in the country in the, as she finished with a time of 20:02.4 which was 11 seconds faster than Hollie Knight of Auburn in second place with a time of 20:13.4.Three Huskies were the next runners to cross the line, as Kendra Schaaf (20:14.7), Christine Babcock (20:15.2) and Marie Lawrence (20:17.8) finished in third through fifth places, respectively, to round out the impressive field.
Women’s 6,000 Meter White Race Recap:
No. 3 ranked FloridaState and No. 5 Princeton battled for the team title throughout the race and it ended with both teams finishing in a tie for first place.Both teams finished with a total of 89 points to pace the field, with No. 11 ranked Michigan finishing in third place with 168 points.No. 17 ranked Illinois ran a strong team race to finish in fourth place with 186 and No. 19 Georgetown rounded out the top five with 186 points.
FloridaState’s Susan Kuijken was the individual star, as she set a new course record with a time of 19:48.2 to finish in first place overall.Kuijken knew the course well and had success last year as well, as she won the women’s Blue Race with a time of 19:55.5.She broke the previous course record by just a tenth of a second, which was set in 2007 by Colorado’s Jenny Barringer.
Nicole Edwards of Michigan finished in second place with a time of 20:20.8, with Janet Jesang of Western Kentucky right behind in third place with a time of 20:22.2.Katie Engle of Illinois was fourth with a time of 20:22.6 and Liz Costello of Princeton rounded out the top five with a time of 20:24.1.
Men’s 8,000 Meter Blue Race Recap:
No. 6 ranked Alabama had three runners finish in the top 10 to lead the Crimson Tide to the team title with a team score of 89 points.No. 16 Northern Arizona was not far behind in second place with a team score of 113, thanks to a late charge by David McNeill.No. 9 Michigan was third with a score of 146, followed by No. 13 Florida State in fourth place with 212 points and No. 14 Minnesota rounded out the top five with a score of 234.
Tyson David led the Alabama charge to the team title, as he finished as the top individual in the race with a time of 23:30.1.McNeill charged down the homestretch and almost caught David at the line, but he was just behind to earn second place honors with a time of 23:30.1.Hassan Mead of Minnesota was third with a time of 23:33.1 and was followed by Patrick Smyth of Notre Dame in fourth place with a time of 23:38.3.David’s teammate Augustus Maiyo rounded out the top five with a strong time of 23:39.6
Men’s 8,000 Meter White Race Recap:
The final seeded race of the day was dominated by No. 10 Stanford, who had two runners finish in the top five to win the team crown with 77 team points.No. 7 ranked Iona ran a strong team race to finish in second place with 123 points and No. 18 ranked BYU placed third with 154 points.No. 16 Auburn was next in fourth place with 194 points and No. 23 ranked UCLA rounded out the top five with a score of 196.
Despite the strong teams near the top of the finish, the race was completely dominated by the outstanding performance of Liberty’s Samuel Chelanga.Chelanga set a blistering pace from the beginning of the race with a time of at the 2k split and held on down the stretch to shatter the course record by almost five seconds to finish in first with a time of 22:51.3.The previous record was held by Chelanga’s former teammate and 2007 NCAA individual champion Josh McDougal, who set the previous mark of 22:56.4 in the White Race in 2007.
Felix Kibioywo of Auburn was over 40 seconds behind in second place with a time of 23:35.5.The next two finishers were Garrett Heath (23:36.4) and Chris Derrick (23:37.0) of Stanford in third and fourth places, respectively, while Girma Mesecho of Auburn rounded out the top five finishers with a time of 23:37.5.
Women’s 6,000 Meter Open Race Recap:
The final women’s race of the day was extremely competitive, as 16 runners finished the race in less than 22 minutes.Ellen Dougherty of Villanova paced the group with a time of 21:17.1 to finish in first place out of 144 runners.She was followed by Laura Portis of MichiganState in second place with a time of 21:27.9 and Alexa Glencer in third in 21:30.4.Renee Tomlin of Georgetown ran to a fourth-place finish in a time of 21:29.0 and Annelore Desaedeleer of Iona rounded out the top five with a time of 21:42.1.
Men’s 8,000 Meter Open Race Recap:
Although the race was not officially scored as a team race, OklahomaState treated it like one as a trio of Cowboys dominated the final race of the day.German Fernandez led the trio with the top time of 23:34.7 to finish in first place.He was followed by teammate John Kosgei in second place in 23:44.4 and Colby Lowe rounded out the top three with a time of 23:57.5.Sean McNamara of Michigan was next in fourth place with a time of 24:18.5 and Dan Hinckley of BYU rounded out the top five with a time of 24:28.4.