Men’s A&T Cross Country ranks fourth in the Big South Championships
KERNERSVILLE – The North Carolina A&T Cross Country Program proved every preseason projection was false during the Big South Conference Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships on Friday afternoon at the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex.
The men took fourth place on the shoulders of an overall conference performance by senior Morris Kimble, and the women finished sixth thanks to another team leadership day by the reigning Conference newcomer of the week Fajr Kelly.
Kimble finished in 13th place with a personal best of 25: 35.3, 8 km to secure the award for the second team from All-Big South for placing in the top 14. Kelly finished 26th in 19: 08.9 and narrowly missed a personal record in the 5k.
Charleston Southern won the Big South Men’s Title. High Point University, UNC Asheville, A&T and Campbell followed in the top five. HPU won everything among women. Radford finished second, followed by Charleston So., UNCA and Campbell in the top five.
It didn’t look right for the Aggie men at first. A&T started in seventh place for the first three stages of the 8k event. Eventually, they dropped to eighth place at the 7k mark. But after that everything went according to plan, said Kimble.
“I started out kind of relaxed,” said Kimble. “I knew one of the competitors in the race was a pretty strong runner and he was going to be out of the race. That’s his way of running, so I thought I was going to just let the race go, keep it relaxed, stay that I had that Control, and as the race progressed I found myself up, comfortable up and when things got a little uncomfortable I had to put in a little more. It was cool because I had a lot of energy at the end. Stay true to myself and run my pace, run my race, and it worked. ”
All-Conference isn’t the only honor Kimble took home. That was not the end of his recognitions. The Big South has also appointed him to its all-academic team. Kimble is studying chemical engineering and has a grade point average of 3.75.
“As a student and athlete, of course, academics come first,” said Kimble. “I’m studying chemical engineering, which is a pretty tough major here at school, so it really gives me a sense of time management when I have practice and then school and class, and you have to make a lot of sacrifices. You can’t always do that Going to parties and having fun, but it really only blames me.
Athletics is something, says Kimble, that he enjoys. For him it’s not about having to go into practice; it wants to go to practice. He wants to be successful in the classroom and as an athlete. Hence, the desire to be great in both areas goes hand in hand for Kimble.
“I use running as a stress reliever, and for academics, I’m here so I really try to manage everything and be the best I can in the classroom and of course on the track,” said Kimble.
Joined Kimble, Sr. Devon Williams was 21st at 26: 04.3. Senior Regan Kimtai was 23rd in 26: 08.5 and junior Jordan Richardson Place 24 in 26: 12.6. The finishers for A&T were rounded off in the second year Jalen Chin in 52nd place with a personal record of 27: 37.7.
“We started this journey in August,” said A&T head coach Ernest Barrett. “The guys bought in, and they really put in work. We were predicted to be eighth and fourth. I think this is excellent for a program that comes into a distance conference. We will go ahead with this one Build a program and I plan to win this championship. No question about it. ”
Kelly could play a role in a future championship run. As with every other race this season, Kelly was the first to cross for the Aggies.
“Of all the meetings I’ve hosted, I felt the best today,” said Kelly. “I knew what the course was going to be like and I had to go. I knew where to start, where I would be constant, and I felt really good. My coach wanted me to work on getting strong that End, and I think I did and felt very good about it too. ”
Kelly was 28th at the 1,634-meter mark but followed her manager’s direction to move up two places. Five of the six A&T runners behind Kelly all set personal records on Friday.
Second year Carolyn Brown ran a personal best of 19: 34.5 and finished third. Her previous PR was 20: 40.8. Junior Dear Melton reduced her personal best by almost 40 seconds to 20: 11.9. She turned 44.
Second year Camille Herring set a personal record two weeks ago at High Point’s VertCross Invitational on the same route she ran today at 20: 56.7. On Friday, however, she undercut this time with a 20: 25.1 and was 49th colleague in the second year Ania Campbell had a time of 22: 47.5 5 km two weeks ago, but ended on Friday at 21: 46.6.
Senior Adanna Thomas got into the action and improved her 5k time by over a minute to a time of 21: 57.7. The finishing for A&T was rounded off in the second year Jayla Joneswho ran their first college 5k at 22: 18.5.
“We pretty much run half a mile for women,” Barrett said. “Half-mile runners aren’t great at cross-country, but they’ve never missed a session, two a day, they work hard day after day to get on the track. Trust me, we’d better be in the hall a message to the conference that we’re here. We’re here to stay and we’re here to compete and I’m so proud of these young ladies. They fought very hard and participated and put their hearts on the line. ”
The conclusion of the Big South Championships also means the end of the cross-country season, but these runners still have a lot to do with the indoor and outdoor athletics seasons coming up this spring.