Friday, November 14, 2008
MARYVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 14, 2008) - The ETSU men's cross country team made some noise two weeks ago by claiming its first-ever Atlantic Sun Championship, and now the group of talented runners look to keep the momentum going as they gear up for the NCAA South Regional on Saturday. Start time of the 10K race is slated for 10:45 a.m. from the Lambert Acres Golf Course in Maryville, Tenn.
The Buccaneers are currently ranked sixth in the region and are in search of leaping above Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Florida and Tennessee. Should ETSU finish in the top-two on Saturday, the Buccaneers will secure an automatic bid to the NCAA National meet later this month.
ETSU will be led upfront by 2008 Atlantic Sun Runner of the Year Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya) and his cousin and 2008 all-conference runner Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya). Both Rotich and Ronoh finished one-two at the A-Sun Championships in Macon, and have led ETSU all year. However, should the Bucs make some damage on Saturday; they will need strong performances by seniors Jeff Crane (Taylors, S.C.) and Michael Deren (Blasdell, N.Y.). Crane has been battling a preseason injury, but bounced back to finish in the top-10 at conference, while Deren has been a consistent number three runner for head coach David E. Walker's team this season.
Walker's team has already made history by winning its 21st conference crown and first since 1996, but this group does not want to see the season come to an end this weekend. Three Buccaneer runners have experience on this course and hope to use it to their advantage. Junior J Penny (Jonesborough, Tenn.), Crane and Deren have all raced in Maryville two years ago when ETSU finished 10th at the regional meet.
On the women's side, twins Terra and Tesha Haggard (Morristown, Tenn.) will run in the 6K race, which begins at 10 a.m. The Haggard's look to build off their successes from the conference championships and use that as momentum on Saturday. Tesha turned in a personal-best of 18:48, resulting in a 15th place finish, marking the highest any Lady Buccaneer runner has finished at the A-Sun championship. Terra also completed the race with a personal-best, finishing the 6K race in 19:21.
For a full recap of Saturday's run, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.