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Men defeat Chattanooga at Frontrunner Invitational

Chemaoi and Sangau take individual victories

October 17, 2009 · Christian Lemon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's cross country team defeated Chattanooga at the UTC Frontrunner dual meet between the two schools, Saturday at the Moccasin Bend race course in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Blue Raider women's team placed second.

Cold and rainy conditions did not prevent Middle Tennessee standouts Festus Chemaoi and William Songock from taking the top two positions in the field, running the 5,000 meter men's course in 15:11 and 15:21, respectively. This is the third victory of the season for Chemaoi, as he and the team prepare for the Sun Belt Championships in two weeks.

"The men really looked good today," said head coach Dean Hayes. "Festus and William have run great every time this season. If they go out and do their thing, they should challenge for the top spots at the Sun Belt Championships."

David Emery finished third for the Blue Raiders placing fourth overall in 15:59 with Isaac Biwott and Chris Mason placing fifth and sixth overall with respective times of 16:01 and 16:04. Josh Wheeler rounded out the men's roster placing 15th in 19:09.

"Our three, four and five runners have shown the most improvement. Our four and five runners are running right with our third runner. This is a huge plus for us."

The men easily defeated Chattanooga in the dual race format 18 to 37.

Zamzam Sangau earned her first victory of the season in the women's two mile race in a time of 11:13. Sangau also won the 2008 UTC Frontrunner Invitational.

Jackie Serem and Marla Bailey also had strong performances for MT. Serem placed fourth overall in 11:34 with Bailey right behind in fifth in 11:38.

Amber Kassuba and Alissa Ruggle were the top two freshman finishers for Middle Tennessee. Kassuba came in 10th overall in a time of 12:12, and Ruggle placed 12th in 12:30. Samantha Hunt, Stephanie Smith and Kayla Bryan rounded out the top 16 finishing 13th, 15th and 16th, respectively.

"Top three are really strong with Jackie and Marla running good and Zam always tough. We still have to find our four and five runners. We have been a little inconsistent and it is difficult to say who will fill these roles for us. Stephanie Smith ran well for us early but has had hamstring problems. If she can return to where she was, it will be a great help."

The women's team placed second behind host Chattanooga with a score of 26 to 29.

Both teams will return to hard practice for the next two weeks in preparation for the Sun Belt Championships on Saturday October 31 in Monroe, La., hosted by Louisiana-Monroe. Stay tuned to goblueraiders.com for all Middle Tennessee cross country updates.

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