Buccaneer Cross Country runs strong in Louisville
Saturday, September 29, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2007) - The East Tennessee State cross country team ran in one of the nations top collegiate races Saturday, and both the men and women posted solid times in the Greater Louisville Sports Commission located at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. 


The ETSU men's squad placed seventh out of 36 overall teams, which featured 18 schools that are currently or have been ranked in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Regional, NCAA Division III National and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Cross Country Polls this season.


ETSU was led by sophomore Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya) who posted a season-best mark of 24:32, placing 18th overall in the 8K race. Rotich's previous best this season was his time of 25:13 at the Winthrop/Asics Invitational two weeks ago.


Juniors Jeff Crane (Taylors, S.C.) and Michael Deren (Blasdell, N.Y) were the second and third Buccaneer runners to cross the finish line Saturday. Crane posted a top-25 finish, coming in 23rd with a time of 24:37; while Deren ended in 38th (24:55). Both runners shattered their season best times by over minute, as Crane's previous best was 25:47 and Deren's mark was 26:04.


Rounding out the top-four for ETSU was senior Jordan Ladd (Lyn, Ontario). Ladd also posted a season-best on the day, coming in 48th with a respectable time of 25:06. J Penny (Telford, Tenn.) was the final Buccaneer to cross the line Saturday, posting a season-best time of 26:04. 


"I am very pleased with our overall effort at such a big meet," said head ETSU men's cross county coach Dave Walker. "We ran very strong up front, especially with Rotich and Crane; however, we still need to work on our pace with our number five runner."


Host Louisville claimed the title for the second straight year, scoring 58 total points. Rend Lake College finished second with 146 points, and Eastern Kentucky rounded out the top three, totaling 169 points. 


On the women's side, every ETSU runner posted a season best mark on Saturday.


Sophomore Vicki Currie (Dumfries, Scotland) led the Buccaneers for the second straight meet, finishing the 5K race in 19:43. Currie's previous best this season was her 20:11 performance at the Tennessee Invitational two weeks ago.


Freshmen twins Terra and Tesha Haggard (Morristown, Tenn.) once again continued to improve with their times as well. Terra posted a mark of 20:18, while her sister finished right behind in 20:28. Terra was able to nip thirty-five seconds off her time, and Tesha clipped twenty-three ticks off her season best mark.


Rounding things out for the Lady Bucs were freshman Rochelle Crook (Cookeville, Tenn.) and sophomore Christin Zink (Herndon, Va.). Crook, competing in her first-ever collegiate race, ended with a time of 21:36, while Zink finished in 22:35.


"Our girls worked very hard today and are really coming along very well," said ETSU assistant Mandy Virgets. "Their hard work in practice is really paying off, and for all them to post either a season/personal best time on such a difficult course shows how much they are improving."


Kentucky beat out Louisville for the women's title, scoring 55 total points. The Cardinals finished with 103, and Georgia Tech came in third with 174 points.


The Bucs will not race again until Saturday, Oct. 13 when they run in the Furman Invitational, marking their final meet before the conference championships on Oct. 27. Please visit www.ETSUBucs.com for more information on ETSU cross country and all other athletic news.