Smyrna, DE – The University of the District of Columbia opened both the Men's and Women's Cross Country season Saturday, September 10th at the Delaware State University Invitational in Smyrna, Delaware. In their inaugural season in the East Coast Conference (ECC) the Firebirds looked to start off the season successfully at Delaware State.
In the 5k, the men were led by returning All-American junior Hillary Mugun (Nandi Hills, Kenya), who finished 2nd overall at the invitational. After the first mile, Mugun began to separate himself from the pack, but he eventually had to settle for the runner-up position with a notable time of 16:06 minutes.
Also posting strong finishes for the men were junior Zephaniah Koech (Nandi Hills, Kenya) and senior Linus Kosgei (Kapsabet, Kenya). Koech finished 8th overall with a time of 16:56 minutes while Kosgei finished in 10th clocking a time of 17:20 minutes.
Rounding out the Firebirds five finishers were senior Justin Chemellan (Nandi Hills, Kenya), who finished 22nd and posted a time of 18:52 minutes, and sophomore Dorrelle Smith (Daytona, Florida), who finished in 32nd.
Though the Firebirds finished 4th out of 5 schools at the meet, Head Coach Alton Mckenzie remained optimistic about the meet and the upcoming season. "It was a good season opener for all of our student-athletes," said Mckenzie. "We are now looking forward to getting more competitive in the coming weeks as the season progresses."
The UDC women also participated in Delaware State University's Invitational on Saturday, finishing 6th. Senior Kaneesha Hollis (Centreville, Maryland) posted the strongest time for the Firebird women, finishing 11th at 22:31 minutes, slightly beating out junior Callister Jones (Fort Washington, Maryland) who finished one spot behind her in 12th place with a time of 22:31 minutes.
Looking to build on Saturday's event, the Firebirds will travel to New York next week to compete in the CW Post Invitational on September 17th, 2011.