October 2, 2011
Firebirds Battle Weather, Challenging Course at George Mason Invitational
Leesburg, VA – Facing brutal weather conditions at the George Mason University Invitational in Leesburg, VA, UDC Men's and Women's Cross Country teams braved both the rain and cold during competition on Saturday, October 1st.
On the men's side, All- American junior Hillary Mugun (Nandi Hills, Kenya) led the Firebirds yet again in the 8-kilometer race with a time of 27:11 minutes to finish 32nd in the field of 76 runners. The next best finisher for the Firebirds was junior Zephaniah Koech (Nandi Hills, Kenya), clocking in with a time of 29:08 minutes to finish in 59th place.
Head Coach Alton Mckenzie viewed the weather conditions at the George Mason Invitational as another necessary obstacle as the Firebirds head towards the East Coast Conference (ECC) Championships. "Bad weather is just a part of competing during cross country season, so it is to be expected," said Coach Mckenzie. "However, this will only help in our preparations for the ECC Championships in the coming weeks."
For the first time this year, the women ran in a 6-kilometer race at the Invitational. They were again led by senior Kaneesha Hollis (Centreville, MD) and junior Callister Jones (Fort Washington, MD). In the 6-kilometer race, Hollis finished with a time of 28:08 minutes in 53rd place while Jones recorded a time of 28:37 minutes in 55th place. The field included 73 participants.
When asked about the progress the women have made, Coach Mckenzie was very impressed with the team's continued competitiveness, especially in inclement conditions and in a new event. "Despite the weather conditions, I was impressed with how Kaneesha and Callister competed," said Mckenzie. "I was happy to see how they toughed it out running a 6-kilometer course for the first time this year."
The Firebirds look to finish strong as they compete next on Sunday, October 23rd at the ECC Championships.