Men's cross country finishes seventh at NCAA South Regional
Saturday, November 15, 2008

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 15, 2008) - Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and that is exactly what happened to the ETSU men's cross country team on Saturday morning in Maryville, Tenn.


The Buccaneers were hoping to break out the South Regional and head to Nationals, but ETSU could not overcome the best of the best in their region as they finished seventh overall at the Lambert Acres Golf Course.


All-Atlantic Sun sophomore runner Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya) led the pack of Buccaneer runners across the finish line, completing the rigorous 10K course in 21st with a time of 32:15.12. Ronoh, who has been ETSU's number two consistent runner, led the Bucs across the line for the second time this season. Right along Ronoh's heals was senior Michael Deren (Blasdell, N.Y.). Deren capped off a solid cross country career at ETSU by placing 22nd overall with a mark of 32:15.51.


With Ronoh and Deren placing in the top-25, the duo both received all-region honors at the post-meet ceremony.


"I am pleased with how Deren and Ronoh ran today," said head cross country coach David E.

Walker. "They battled against a very tough field, but both runners laid everything on the line today and finished strong."


ETSU's top runner of the year, junior Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya), did not have his best race today, as he crossed the line in 28th place. Rotich, the 2008 Atlantic Sun Runner of the Year and three-time conference Runner of the Week recipient, completed the race in 32:27.60.


"Today was Kenneth's first sub-par race of the season," said Walker. "Unfortunately it came at the worse time to not perform well, but overall he still had a very productive season."


Rounding out the Buccaneer attack was junior J Penny (Jonesborough, Tenn.) and senior Jeff Crane (Taylors, S.C.). Penny finished in 48th, while Crane ended in 53rd. 


ETSU should not be disappointed as they enjoyed an outstanding year. The Buccaneers claimed two team titles, including the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship - marking the first men's conference crown in 12 years. In addition, the Bucs had five all-conference runners, including 2008 Atlantic Sun Runner of the Year, and coach Walker won his 14th Coach of the Year award.  


"I am very pleased with the overall season we had," Walker said. "We set high goals for the team and to come away with their first-ever conference championship in the Atlantic Sun speaks volumes on their performance this season."


Individually, Auburn's Felix, Kibioywo was the first person to cross the tape by turning in a time of 30:45.91. Kibioywo and his Tiger teammates secured a spot to Nationals as they finished second overall. Alabama claimed the team crown as the Crimson Tide edged out Auburn by 10 points - 49 to 59.


On the women's side, Terra and Tesha Haggard (Morristown, Tenn.) represented the Lady Bucs in the 6K race. Tesha finished the course with a time of 23:47.74, while Terra ended in 24:12.54.


"Both Terra and Tesha ran well in their first-ever Regional meet," commented Walker. "They performed solid today and finished the season by getting a NCAA Regional meet under their belt. Hopefully they can use this as motivation heading into the indoor track season."


The cross country runners will now gear up for the indoor track and field season, which begins Friday, Dec. 5 at Appalachian State.


For more information on Buccaneer cross country, visit