Cross Country ranks 5th

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Cross Country ranks 5th

Kris Albert, [email protected]

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ULM’s Cross Country team had a fine performance at the Azalea City Classic hosted by South Alabama. In the first meeting for the team this year ULM placed fifth as a team. Conditions were less than ideal for the event with high heat and humidity.

“The weather conditions were brutal at the opening gun,” said assistant coach Chris Warren. Getting through this event showed the fortitude that is required for cross country.

Senior Elias Keter opened his campaign with a fourth-place outing.

Keter posted an excellent time of 27:05:30, finishing not far behind the top finishers. He was the lone top five finisher for the Warhawks. ULM finished with 129 points with an average of 30:40 and a split of 7:26.

Junior Brandon McDonald stepped up as well, not being overshadowed by his teammate. McDonald was only a minute off of Keter’s pace, finishing 11 with a time of 28:17:30. “I’m proud of the way the entire team competed, especially with Elias Keter pulling out a fourth-place finish and Brandon McDonald placing 11th,” Coach Warren said. Keter and McDonald set the tone for the Cross Country team.

Kevin Dietrich placed 36 overall with a time of 31:25:80. While there is room for improvement for Dietrich, he did not flounder in the classic. Freshman Eric Hawkins also had a decent showing at the classic. Hawkins finished with a time of 32:00:60 in his ULM debut. Jansen Nowell crossed the line with a time of 34:27:80. Dietirch placed 36, Hawkins finished 40 and Nowell took 51.

The classic also provided a good look at ULM’s competition. South Alabama, Troy, New Orleans University and Southern ranked top four in the classic team wise. Elias Keter also got a good look at his competition. Troy’s Brackin Stewart set the pace for the event, taking home top honors in a time of 26:32:90.

He was followed by the South Alabama combination of Thomas Sand and Wamo Potgieter. The pair were two of five finishing in the top 10 for the host-team. South Alabama poses a major threat to the Sun Belt crown this year. A strong message was sent to the Warhawks and the rest of the Sun Belt during this classic.

Everybody had a solid start to the season with room for improvement all around.

Keter and McDonald showed some very good leadership skills at the meet. The young duo of Eric Hawkins and Jansen Newell should give the team added confidence as well.

ULM has to just stay on track and stay focused, because a successful season is on the horizon.