Newcomer Chemaoi Places 2nd at Belmont

Zamzam Sangau leads women's squad with 12th-place showing

August 31, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Festus Chemaoi finished second overall in his first career race and Zamzam Sangau placed 12th, leading Middle Tennessee's cross country team Friday at the Belmont Opener at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn.

Chemaoi, a freshman, finished behind professional Gabriel Rodriguez on the 5K course in 15:12.45 in his first race for the Blue Raiders. The Ainabkoi, Kenya, posted the best time by a men's squad member at the Belmont Opener in the four years that Middle Tennessee has participated in the event, just ahead of Jonathan Guillou's 15:20.85 two years ago.

Sophomore William Songock placed 18th in 15:51.63 and sophomore Julius Kurui was 20th in 15:52.16.

"The times were about as fast as we've ever run on that course for the guys," head coach Dean Hayes said. "The top three ran very well and next week Isaac [Biwott] will run as well, giving us four solid guys. We have to keep working to find a fifth guy."

Sophomore Philip Benavides (49th, 16:43.71), freshman Adam Cunningham (70th, 17:20.53), senior Matthew Young (92nd, 18:28.61) and junior Luke Pfleger (94th, 18:43.81) rounded out the men's contingent in the opening event of the year.

Zamzam, a sophomore, was the top women's finisher, completing the 4K course in 15:01.35, while senior Marjorie Gombert finished 23rd in 15:21.55 and junior Ashley Comstock was 31st in 15:36.50.

"I thought Zamzam ran a very smart race, especially after the first mile," Hayes said. "Marjorie ran really well and Ashley Comstock did a nice job. Hopefully she can keep improving and get back to where she was as a freshman."

Junior Tiffany Sawyer (53rd, 16:23.65), sophomore Kaitlyn Hammond (63rd, 16:56.34), sophomore Ashleigh Thaler (86th, 17:42.24), freshman Jennifer Poland (88th, 17:52.45), senior Catherine Chester (91st, 18:07.99) and freshman Sarah Nambawa (107th, Sarah Nambawa, 19:09.49) rounded out the women's competitors for Middle Tennessee.

The cross country teams run again next week, September 7, at the UTC Opener at Moccasin Bend in Chattanooga, Tenn.

MEN - 5K (5th/13)

2. Festus Chemaoi, 15:12.45
18. William Songock, 15:51.63
20. Julius Kurui, 15:52.16
49. Philip Benavides, 16:43.71
70. Adam Cunningham, 17:20.53
92. Matthew Young, 18:28.61
94. Luke Pfleger, 18:43.81

WOMEN - 4K (7th/16)
12. Zamzam Sangau, 15:01.35
23. Marjorie Gombert, 15:21.55
31. Ashley Comstock, 15:36.50
53. Tiffany Sawyer, 16:23.65
63. Kaitlyn Hammond, 16:56.34
86. Ashleigh Thaler, 17:42.24
88. Jennifer Poland, 17:52.45
91. Catherine Chester, 18:07.99
107. Sarah Nambawa, 19:09.49

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.