Rotich places sixth at Louisville; Men finish a disappointing ninth
Saturday, October 4, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2008) - On a day where junior Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya) continued to show why he is one the top cross country runners in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the ETSU men's cross country team finished a disappointing ninth at the 2008 Greater Louisville Classic from E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park on Saturday morning.


Rotich entered the race on a hot streak after winning back-to-back individual titles, but his bid for a third straight crown was snapped, as he finished sixth overall. The Kenyan sensation still had a strong showing, in such a dominate field, and ended the 8K race in 24:10.


"Kenneth ran very well for us this morning," commented head ETSU cross country coach David Walker. "The course was very challenging, but Rotich did a tremendous job battling the conditions and turned in yet another solid effort."


As a team, ETSU was pinned against some of the top teams in the South Region, but the Buccaneers missed a valuable opportunity to improve on their No.13 ranking. In addition, two days after tightening the race with Belmont in the A-Sun Coaches Poll, the Bucs also lost that chance to move into the top spot in the league, as the Bruins placed sixth overall.


"Our team missed a great chance to gain some respect in the region," commented Walker. "Once again we need to continue on having fourth and fifth runners close the gap with our guys up front."


Other ETSU notables included sophomore Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya) and Michael Deren (Blasdell, N.Y.). Ronoh placed 32nd overall with a mark of 24:44, and Deren finished four spots behind his teammate, crossing the line in 24:48. Both Ronoh and Deren turned in season best times on Saturday.


Southern Illinois won the prestigious meet as the Salukis finished the day with 77 overall points. Eastern Kentucky (91 points) and Rend Lake College (125 points) rounded out the top three. The Buccaneers were also beaten by Tennessee, Georgia State, and MTSU - who are all ranked ahead of ETSU in the South Region.


Sophomore twins Terra and Tesha Haggard (Morristown, Tenn.) once again led the Buccaneer women on Saturday in Louisville. Tesha was the first Buccaneer runner to finish the 5K run, finishing with a time of 19:50. Terra (Haggard) turned in her best run of the season as she ended the difficult course in 19:52.


Texas, Georgia State and UAB were the top three teams (in that specific order); while Western Kentucky's Janet Jesang claimed the individual title by finishing the race in 16:52.


The men's and women's cross country teams return to action in two weeks. A few members of the Buccaneer men's squad are expected to test the waters at the ISU Pre-National meet on Saturday, Oct. 18 in Terre Haute, Ind.; while the remaining team members will travel to Boone, N.C. for the Blue Ridge Mountain Open on Friday, Oct. 17.


For more information on Buccaneer cross country, visit