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Oct. 17, 2009
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Competing in its final meet prior to the Atlantic Sun Championships, the USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams each finished second at Saturday's Upstate Invitational. Gilbert Kemboi and Carolyne Chelulei each won their third race of the season to lead the Spartans.
In the women's race, the Spartans finished first and second. Chelulei posted a time of 17:59.88, as teammate Jemeli Sang finished right behind her with a time of 18:00.97. Upstate had two other runners place in the top 12 in Saturday's meet. Joan Tangwar posted a seventh-place finish after a time of 19:07.63 and Lauren Walker finished 12th in the field of 101 competitors with a time of 19:18.12.
"This was a great tune-up for our teams prior to the conference championships," said head cross country coach Jimmy Stephens. "Unfortunately, it has rained most of the week and the weather wasn't the best for today's meet, but I still am proud of the effort they gave today. Carolyne and Jemeli ran strong, just as they have all season, as did all of our girls and again I am proud of the effort they gave today."
The Spartans finished the meet with 45 points, finishing just nine points behind race winner Davidson. UNC-Greensboro tallied 67 points en route to a third-place finish in the field of 12 teams. The UNC Charlotte B team finished fourth with 102 points and Wofford rounded out the top five with 137 points.
Emily Tangwar posted a time of 20:06.06 en route to a 25th-place finish, giving the Spartans a total of five runners in the top 25. Rounding out the race for the Spartans was Laura Transue and Jillian Finney. Transue finished 48th after a time of 21:09.09 and Finney finished 92nd after posting a time of 26:21.96.
On the men's side, the Spartans had a number of strong showings as six Spartans placed in the top 19 on Saturday. Gilbert Kemboi, who finished first in a field of 73 competitors, posted a time of 24:38.68. Joining Kemboi in the top 10 was David Dennison who finished seventh with a time of 26:24.14.
"I am proud of the effort that Gilbert gave today as well as all of the guys, it was not the best conditions to race in, but they ran strong," said assistant coach Carson Blackwelder. "Coming into the meet, we knew that there were several quality opponents and I am ready to see what the team can accomplish in a few weeks at the A-Sun Championships."
Three Upstate runners finished within nine seconds of each other, James Jackson, Cameron Thomas and Matt Henderson finished 11th, 12th and 14th, respectively. Jackson posted a season-best time of 26:24.84 and was followed by Thomas at 26:46.67 and Henderson at 26:51.31. The final runner for the Spartans in the top 19 was Christian Ritacco, who posted a time of 27:11.49.
UNCG won the men's event after tallying 24 points, while Upstate finished with 41 and a second place finish. In the field of nine, Wofford finished third with 93 points as Charleston Southern (125) and Campbellsville (137) rounded out the top five on Saturday.
The Spartans will not run again until the A-Sun Championships at the end of the month. The event in DeLand, Fla. will take place on Oct. 31.