Men's cross country takes second, women finish third at Mountaineer Open

Friday, September 30, 2005

BOONE, N.C. (September 30, 2005) - The East Tennessee State men's cross country team nabbed runner-up honors, while the women managed a third-place showing in the team standings, Friday evening at the Mountaineer Open, hosted by Appalachian State.  Jeff Crane (Taylors, S.C.) was the first to finish for the Bucs, claiming ninth-overall, sixth in the team standings, while McKenzie LaBonte (Port Charlotte, Fla.) led the women's team, racing to seventh-place finish.


Crane clocked 20:22.83 for the four-mile course, as the low stick in ETSU's 50-point total.  Teammate Joshua Hicks (Riceville, Tenn.) was the next Buc to cross the finish line, taking eighth-place in the team scoring (13th overall) in 20:37.23.  A trio of Bucs finished out the ETSU scoring, as Jordan Ladd (Lyn, Ontario), Bernard Towett (Nairobi, Kenya), and Abdi Chepkwony (Nairobi, Kenya) claimed 11th through 13th places (18th-20th overall), recording times of 20:46.56, 20:48.50, and 20:54.46, respectively.


Virginia Tech won the race with a perfect 15-point tally, followed by ETSU with 50 points, and Milligan College with a score of 89.  David Berden of ZapFitness, a post-collegiate club team, won the race with a time of 19:36.47, while Virginia Tech's David Atkiss was the top collegiate, placing third overall in 19:45.08.


"We just weren't aggressive at the start, and let Virginia Tech really get a jump on us early, but it was a solid outing and hopefully we'll learn from it," head coach Dave Walker said of his team's performance.  "It's good to know though, that we have strength in numbers, running without our top two athletes (Peter Dalton and Michael Deren)."


LaBonte paced the Lady Bucs in her first race of the season, touring the 5,000-meter course in 19:17.78.  Heather Adkins (Kansas City, Mo.) finished second for the Lady Bucs, 14th in the team scoring, in 20:08.14.  Traci McAmis (Cleveland, Tenn.) was next in line, clocking 20:16.87, for 15th place.  Ali Carney (Sevierville, Tenn.) and Allie Frazier (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished step-for-step, as Carney nosed her teammate for 20th position in 20:36.35, with Frazier on her heals in 20:36.68, placing 21st.


Virginia Tech made it a Hokie sweep, winning the women's race with 17 points.  Milligan took runner-up honors with 50 points, with ETSU tallying 77 for third.  Hokie Tasmin Fanning won the individual title in 18:03.98. 


"We're really excited, because it's a big improvement from our first race," said women's mentor Michelle Byrne.  "But we definitely have a long way to go to get to the top half of the (Atlantic Sun) conference, but the pieces are there.  McKenzie was definitely the highlight, and we know we can be that much better when we have Christine Ward (ETSU's top runner), who took the weekend off."

ETSU will hit the road again next weekend with the Furman Invitational, in Furman, S.C., on Oct. 8.  Following the Furman race, the Bucs are off until Oct. 29, when they travel to Buies Creek, N.C. for the Atlantic Sun Championships.

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