UNCG men, women win titles at SoCon Championships

UNCGSpartans.com 10-28-2011
Courtesy: UNCGSpartans.com

CHARLESTON, S.C.Paul Chelimo won the individual title in the men's race and Ashley Schnell did the same in the women's race as UNCG also took home both team titles at the 2011 Southern Conference Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Trophy Lakes. The team titles were the first for both programs.

The men's team easily won the team title with 26 points, well ahead of second-place Davidson who scored 73 points. The women also claimed the team title with ease with a score of 35, while Furman came in second with 80 points.

Schnell repeated as individual champion after claiming the 2010 crown to be named SoCon Runner of the Year for the second-straight season. Chelimo, in his first year at UNCG, earned SoCon Runner of the Year honors on the men's side, while Paul Katam was named SoCon Freshman of the Year. Spartan head coach Linh Nguyen was named SoCon Coach of the Year on the men's and women's side, as well.

"Today couldn't have gone any better for us," said Nguyen. "To take both individual titles and both team titles is something you daydream about, but rarely ever happens. I can't say enough about these student-athletes and their level of hard work and commitment."

Chelimo ran away with the individual title by 19 seconds as he broke his own school record in the 8k by 25 seconds after running a 23:11.56. His time was the fastest by any men's runner at the SoCon Championship since 1966.

Teammates Joey Thompson and Paul Katam weren't far behind as they finished in third and fourth with times of 23:54.39 and 23:59.80, respectively. Abraham Kemboi came in seventh with a 24:27.58 and Mike Koech ran a 24:51.28 to come in 11th.

Chelimo, Thompson, Katam and Kemboi all earned first-team All-SoCon honors, while Koech was named second-team All-SoCon after earned first-team honors a season ago.

"Paul Chelimo did what he's done all year and controlled the race," said Nguyen. "I told the rest of the guys to get right in the front from the start and stay there. That's exactly what they did and it ended with a good result. This course was flat so we knew people wouldn't come back, we had to be in the front from the start if we wanted to win. Joey, Paul Katam, Abraham and Mike all ran terrific races to get our entire top-5 in the top 11 places. These guys were focused and executed the race plan perfectly."

In the women's 5k, Schnell shattered her own school record she set earlier this year by 46 seconds after completing the course in a time of 16:33.10. Her time was the fastest by any runner in SoCon Championship history by 20 seconds. The previous record was set in 2005 by Chattanooga's Shannon Wommack. She also became just the seventh runner in SoCon history to win more than one individual title.

Like the men's race, the rest of the women's team wasn't far behind. Chelsea Sumney, Kerry Hartman and Shaina Sumney finished in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. All three of the runners joined Schnell in earning first-team All-SoCon honors.

"Ashley ran an amazing race today," said Nguyen. "It's tough to defend a title because everybody is gunning for you. She's taken it to another level this year and its showing. The plan for the women was the same for the men, get everybody in front early and stay there. Again, they did a great job of executing. I think every one of our women ran a PR today. What a great team performance.

"All year other teams were putting up fast times and we weren't. The courses we ran weren't as fast as the ones everybody else ran, but we stayed focused and we stayed confident. We knew that if we ran well we could do something special and it all came together today. A big thank you goes out to all of the alumni and fans that made the long trip to Charleston to cheer us on. It's a great day to be a Spartan!"

The Spartans will now turn their attention toward the NCAA Southeast Regional on Nov. 12 in Louisville, Ky.



Coach of the Year – Men
Linh Nguyen —UNCG

Coach of the Year – Women
Linh Nguyen —UNCG

Runner of the Year – Men
Paul Chelimo--UNCG

Runner of the Year – Women
Ashley Schnell – UNCG

Freshman of the Year – Men
Paul Katam – UNCG 

Men's results:
1. Paul Chelimo, 23:11.56; 3. Joey Thompson, 23:54.39; 4. Paul Katam, 23:59.80; 7. Abraham Kemboi, 24:27.58; 11. Mike Koech, 24:51.28; 39. Brian Carrington, 25:41.51; 50. Tyron Alston, 26:05.82; 54. Taylor Day, 26:17.03; 83. Eric Williams; 28:09.12

Team Scores:
1. UNCG                                  26
2. Davidson                              73
3. Furman                                 82
4. Appalachian State                 91
5. Chattanooga                         103
T6. Western Carolina                   166
T6. Elon                                    166
8. College of Charleston            205
9. The Citadel                            260
10. Wofford                              279
11. Samford                              288

Women's results:
1. Ashley Schnell, 16:33.10; 5. Chelsea Sumney, 17:12.80; 6. Kerry Hartman, 17:15.60; 7. Shaina Sumney, 17:17.60; 16. Ginny Cronley, 17:47.70; 45. Kelly Montague, 18:34.30; 61. Chelsea Willette, 18:57.70; 62. Michelle Chewens, 19:03.70; 85. Shannon Hall, 19:56.50

Team Scores:
1.  UNCG                                  35
2.  Furman                                80
3. Elon                                      111
4. Appalachian State                 117
5. College of Charleston            141
6. Western Carolina                   143
7. Samford                               145
8. Davidson                              178
9. Wofford                                242
10. Georgia Southern                 244
11. Chattanooga                        295
12. The Citadel                          329

All-SoCon First Team – Men
1.  Paul Chelimo—UNCG
2.  Ryan Hopkins—Davidson
3. Joey Thompson—UNCG
4. Paul Katam—UNCG
5. Chris Berry—Chattanooga
6. Lucas Cotter—Chattanooga
7. Abraham Kemboi—UNCG

All-SoCon Second Team – Men
8.  Alex Taylor—Appalachian State
9. Will Raby—Appalachian State
10. Luis Vargas—Elon
11. Mike Koech—UNCG
12. Tripp Hurt—Furman
13. Chris Caldwell—Furman
14. Mark Cole—Chattanooga

All-SoCon First Team – Women
1.  Ashley Schnell—UNCG
2. Lauren D'Alessio—Samford
3. Dena O'Brien—College of Charleston
4. Erin Barker—Furman
5. Chelsea Sumney—UNCG
6. Kerry Harman—UNCG
7. Shaina Sumney—UNCG

All-SoCon Second Team – Women
8. Brooke Mosteller—Furman
9. Allyson Oram—Elon
10. Mara Smith—Western Carolina
11. Amanda Hamilton—Appalachian State
12. Sarah Paddon—Davidson
13. Hannah Orders—Appalachian State
14. Morgan Denecke—Elon
T14. Sinead Haughey—Furman

All-SoCon Freshman Team – Men
4. Paul Katam—UNCG
10. Luis Vargas—Elon
12. Tripp Hurt—Furman
25. Sean Magee—Elon
31. Travis Alfaro—Western Carolina
37. Whitner Chase—Davidson
40. Henry Falotico--Davidson

- UNCG -

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