Men's Cross Country Take Belmont Opener

Hayes pleased with early season progress

September 3, 2010 · Christian Lemon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee's Festus Chemaoi took victory on Friday, leading the men's cross country team to a first place finish at the 2010 Belmont Opener at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn. The women's team finished tied for fifth.

For the second consecutive season, Chemaoi opened the season victorious finishing the 5,000 meter course in a time of 15:17.27. The Kenya native bested the 89 man field taking the tape with a 14 second lead on the second place finisher.

"It was a great race," said Chemaoi. We really wanted to go out as a team and run together. It felt good to get out race again."

Chris Mason and Isaac Biwott, both members of the 2009 All-Sun Belt team, were the second and third finishers for the men's roster. Mason finished third place overall in a time of 15:40.78. Biwott came in 10th in 16:01.60.

Newcomers David Bioywo and Justin Cacaro ran strong in their first cross country race for MT. Bioywo took 18th in 16:13.81 with Cacaro coming in 20th overall in a time of 16:14.61.

The team combine for 49 total points in the first place effort.

"It was a good first race," said head coach Dean Hayes. "Our top five ran really strong and the team is progressing well. They had some tough workouts this week, but the race came pretty easy for most of them."

In the women's 4K race, freshman Deanna Brasz was the top Blue Raider finisher taking 14th overall in a time of 14:50.09 with senior Marla Bailey placing 24th in 15:15.85 as the second runner-in on the roster.

Bailey commented on the Brasz's performance, "Deanna ran awesome. We have some new athletes on the team, so we want to help everyone develop and come together as a strong team."

Caroline Tanui, the third Middle Tennessee finisher, placed 37th overall in a time of 15:26.03 with teammate Kristen Tithof finishing 46th in 15:39.76 as the fourth Blue Raider finishers. Sophomore Stephanie Smith rounded out the MT scorers finishing just behind Tithof in 47th in a time of 15:41.16.

The team placed fifth with 139 points in a tie with Belmont.

The teams will return to action next Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn., at the UTC Opener. Stay tuned to GoBlueRaiders.com for all updates and coverage.

Middle Tennessee Men:
1. Festus Chemaoi 15:17.27
3. Chris Mason 15:40.78
10. Isaac Biwott 16:01.60
18. David Bioywo 16:13.61
20. Justin Cacaro 16:14.61

View more photos

Middle Tennessee Women:

14. Deanna Brasz 14:50.09
24. Marla Bailey 15:15.85
37. Caroline Tanui 15:26.03
46. Kristen Tithof 15:39.76
47. Stephanie Smith 15:41.16
57. Rachel Islam 15:50.74
64. Alissa Ruggle 16:00.34
76. Autumn Gipson 16:13.07
93. Kayla Bryan 17:03.80

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