Elon, N.C. – Junior Abraham Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kipkabus) placed first in the men's 8,000-meter race at the Elon Invitational while senior Chelsea Sumney (Washington, Pa./Trinity) took home the top spot in the women's 5,000-meter race Saturday morning to lead both the UNCG cross country programs to second place team finishes in the event.
"Obviously, Abraham and Chelsea both had great races taking home convincing victories on the individual side," head coach Linh Nguyen said. "Dylan Belles also stepped up in a big way for the men with a third place finish and a huge PR. I think the young kids are learning what college competition is like and what they need to do to be successful moving forward."
Kemboi won the men's race in a time of 25:29, claiming his first individual title of his UNCG career, surpassing his previous top finish of fourth last year at the same event. Sophomore Dylan Belles (Denver, N.C./East Lincoln) placed third in the race with a career-best 8,000-meter time of 26:02, surpassing his previous mark by 1:03.
Sumney placed first in the women's race with a time of 17:44, also claiming her first individual title of her career. She posted a fifth place finish last year at the Southern Conference championships. Junior Kelly Montague (Garner, N.C./West Johnston) placed ninth as the second Spartan to cross the line, clocking a time of 19:18.
The men's program finished the event second in team scoring with 29 points, trailing Elon which posted a score of 26 in the top five finishers. Taylor Day
(26:54), Joshua Crawford
(26:54) and Eric Williams
(26:58) all placed in the top-10 in the seventh, eighth and 10th spots, respectively. Brandon Cain
(28:08) and Tyron Alston
(28:09) placed 13th
, respectively, while John Elwood
(29:11) placed 19th
The women's program also finished the event second, tallying 43 points in the top five places to finish behind host Elon, who won the team portion with 20 points. Katlyn Ayers (19:40) placed 11th, while Lydia Saina (20:15), Emilee Hensel (20:16) and Shannon Hall (20:26) placed 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively. Freshman Meredith Hicks (21:07) finished in 15th place for the Spartans.
"I think today was a big learning day for both of our teams" Nguyen said. "We have a lot of young runners and this was their first collegiate race. The women's team had more freshmen than upperclassmen and in a situation like that, it's going to mean a lot of lessons learned. I don't think either team necessarily had the result they were looking for but I think we came away with a lot of information about what we need to do over the remainder of the season."
The Blue and Gold will return to competition Sept. 29 with two events. The team will run at either the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky., or the Greensboro Cross Country Invitational.
1. Abraham Kemboi, 25:29; 3. Dylan Belles, 26:02; 7. Taylor Day, 26:54; 8. Joshua Crawford, 26:54; 10. Eric Williams, 26:58; 13. Brandon Cain, 28:08; 14. Tyron Alston, 28:09; 19. John Elwood, 29:11
Men's Team Scores
1. Elon University, 26
2. UNCG, 29
3. NC A & T, 85
Inc. Ferrum, 1 finishers
Inc. Methodist, 4 finishers
1. Chelsea Sumney, 17:44; 9. Kelly Montague, 19:18; 10. Katlyn Ayers, 19:40; 11. Lydia Saina, 20:15; 12. Emilee Hensel, 20:16; 13, Shannon Hall, 20:26; 15. Meredith Hicks, 21:07
Women's Team Scores
1. Elon University, 20
2. UNCG, 43
3. NC A & T, 84
Inc. Ferrum, 4 finishers
Inc. Methodist, 3 finishers
Inc. William Peace, 1 finishers
- UNCG -