GREENSBORO, N.C.-The UNCG men’s and women’s cross country teams host the Southern Conference Championships for the first time in program history Friday morning as the Spartans welcome in all 10 teams from the SoCon to the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville, N.C. The event begins with the women’s 5,000-meter race at 10 a.m. and the men’s 8,000-meter race will follow at 10:45 a.m.
Last year, the Spartans finished third on the women’s side and fourth on the men’s side in the SoCon Championships. Former Spartan Paul Chelimo won his third straight individual title on the men’s side as UNCG placed three in the top 10 (Chelimo, Paul Katam and Dylan Belles) while the women also had three top 10 finishers in the race (Shaina Sumney, Lydia Saina and Chelsea Sumney).
The Spartans last competed at the Pre National Invitational on October 18 in Terre Haute, Ind. On the women’s side, the Spartans finished 30th overall in the 6,000-meter White Race. Katlyn Ayers (Fort Valley, Va./ Strasburg) was the top finisher for the Blue and Gold, finishing 63rd overall with a time of 23:02.50. The time was a new personal best for the Fort Valley, Va. native.
Redshirt sophomore Eira Jensen (Alsvag, Norway/ Sortland Videregaende Skole) finished close behind at 71st, with a time of 23.07.90. Amanda Branch finished the day at 25:33.20. Sophomore Samiiah Wilson (Apex, N.C /Cardinal Gibbons) completed the race in 26:36.30 and junior Meredith Hicks (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) came in at 28:20.10.
On the men’s side, freshman Geoffrey Korir (Eldoret, Kenya) led the way, finishing 40th overall with a time of 25:55.50, for his first 8,000-meter race of his young career. Senior Brandon Cain (Graham, N.C./Coker College) finished the race at 27:28.10. Patrick O’Grady (Roswell, Ga./Blessed Trinity) completed the race with a time of 27:39.40.
Freshman Bryan Whyms (Charlotte, N.C./ Northside Christian Academy) finished in 28:21.30 and classmate Luke Sumerford finished in 28:32.90, who also ran his first 8,000-meter race Saturday morning. The Spartans finished in 25th place as a team in the 8,000-meter White Race.
On September 26, the Spartans hosted the Spartan Invitational, which was also held at the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex. Whyms was the top finisher for the Spartans, placing 27th with a time of 27:48.35 on the 8,000-meter course. Senior Dylan Belles (Denver, N.C./East Lincoln), running unattached, won the Spartan Invitational with a time of 25:16.47, winning by over six seconds against his nearest competitor in Simeon Roberts of East Tennessee State.
For full results, highlights, and video of Friday’s race, visit uncgspartans.com or soconsports.com.