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Oct. 15, 2009
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams will host the USC Upstate Cross Country Invitational on Saturday. The final race for the Spartans, before competing in the conference championships at the end of October, will begin at 10:00 a.m. at Milliken Research Park.
"We are excited to be able to host a second home meet at Milliken Research Park this season," said head cross country coach Jimmy Stephens. "It is a great course and we are looking to develop this meet into something special for Upstate."
The Upstate men will be competing against 10 other schools in Saturday's meet. Meanwhile, the women's field will be slightly larger with a total of 13 teams competing.
"This will be a quality test for us, as it is our final meet prior to the Atlantic Sun Championships at the end of the month," said assistant cross country coach Carson Blackwelder. "On the women's side, we will face quality competition with Davidson and UNC Greensboro also competing in the event. In the men's race, UNCG will be a good challenge for our team."
In the Spartans last event, the Charlotte Invitational, the women's team finished third in a 23-team field while the men placed fourth in a field of 21 schools. Two individuals set school records, while six others set personal bests.
The women's team had two individuals place in the top 10, Carolyne Chelulei placed third while Jemeli Sang finished eighth. Chelulei set a school record with a time of 17:31.40, which passes former record holder Emily Tangwar who posted a time of 18:08.00 at the 2007 Atlantic Sun Championships. The trio of Sang (17:39.60), Joan Tangwar (18:22.80) and Lauren Walker (18:39.40) all posted the best times of their Spartan careers.
Leading the men's team at the Charlotte Invitational was Gilbert Kemboi who finished second overall. Kemboi's time of 24:28.40 was a new school record, which passes the record of 25:00.00 that Kemboi set on Sept. 5 at the Eye Opener Invitational.
Also assisting the Spartans with the fourth place finish were David Dennison, Matt Henderson and Cameron Thomas. Those three runners all set personal-bests at the event. Dennison posted a time of 26:13.20 en route to a 33rd-place finish, while Matt Henderson (26:19.60) and Cameron Thomas (26:43.20) finished 38th and 55th respectively. Christian Ritacco finished 46th overall with a time of 26:32.60, which was less than four seconds behind his personal best time.
Following this weekend's event, the Spartans will conclude their 2009 season on Oct. 31 at the 2009 A-Sun Championships in DeLand, Fla.