Men's cross country earns runner-up honors at A-Sun Championships, ETSU women finish eighth
Men's cross country earns runner-up honors at A-Sun Championships, ETSU women finish eighth
Saturday, October 29, 2005

BUIES CREEK, N.C. (October 29, 2005) - The East Tennessee State men's cross country took runner-up honors at the A-Sun Cross Country Championships, on Saturday in Buies Creek, N.C.  The Bucs left a mere 17 seconds between their first and fifth finishers, scoring 46 points, just 15 points behind Belmont with 31.


The Bucs were in position to win with three miles gone by, but the Belmont pack made its move in miles four and five to secure its fourth-consecutive Conference crown. 


"It was really a disappointment since we expected to contend for the title," said ETSU coach Dave Walker.  "We were leading at three miles, and had planned to really do damage in mile four, but we let people stick around and didn't execute.  We didn't compete at the level we needed to."


Peter Dalton led the Bucs with a seventh-place showing, finishing the five-mile course in 25 minutes and 29 seconds.  Bernard Towett was on Dalton's heels in eighth place, crossing the finish line in 25:32.  Joshua Hicks was next in line for the Bucs, claiming ninth place in 25:35.  Jeff Crane was the Bucs' fourth finisher, placing 10th in 25:38. 


Kennesaw State's Daniel Gormley broke up the Buccaneer pack in 11th, before Jordan Ladd rounded out the ETSU scoring, claiming 12th place overall in 25:46.


Also running strong for the Bucs were Abdi Chepkwony in 13th place (25:48), and Michael Deren in 19th (26:04).


Belmont took the top two slots in the race with Brad Polley and Adam Bishop taking gold and silver medal honors in 25:19, and 25:21, respectively.  Kennesaw State's Jason Walters earned the bronze medal, also finishing in 25:21.


"But the race was encouraging because we have almost everyone coming back next year and will be able to contend for the win," said Walker.  "This is also the highest we've finished in a Conference meet in quite some time."


With the second-place finish, the post-race honors rolled in for the Bucs, who placed four runners on the all-conference squad, and two on the all-freshman team.  Dalton, Towett, Hicks, and Crane were all named to the all-conference team after their top 10 finishes, while Crane and Chepkwony received all-freshman team nods.


The Lady Bucs totaled 195 points for eighth place in women's 5,000-meter race.  Kennesaw State won the meet with 42, followed by Belmont with 94, and Campbell with 111.  Campbell's Alicia Valtin ran away with the individual title, finishing in 16:56.  Patrina Hayes of KSU was second in 17:17, with Belmont's Lauren Williams in third in 17:50.


MacKenzie LaBonte was the first Lady Buc to cross the finish line, placing 16th with a personal-best 18:47.  Christine Ward, who has been sidelined due to illness, was second for ETSU, finishing 25th, in 19:02.  Heather Adkins, who would earn a spot on the all-freshman squad, placed 30th overall and third for the Lady Bucs, clocking 19:09.  Traci McAmis and Ali Carney completed the ETSU scoring in 44th and 46th places, running 19:48 and 19:54, respectively.


"It was also a disappointing race on the women's side, because we had hoped to finish in the top five," said women's coach Michelle Byrne.  "Christine's illness certainly affected us, but again we have almost everyone back for next year as well."


The ETSU harriers are off until Nov. 12, when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., for the NCAA South Regional.