Oct. 27, 2012
ROCK HILL, S.C. - Coastal Carolina men's and women's cross country teams each had strong performances at the Big South Championship in Rock Hill, S.C. as the women placed second, the men sixth.
The women's squad placed four runners in the top 20 as they claimed 72 points on their way to a runner-up finish in the 6K.
Freshman Letitia Saayman put together her best performance of the year to lead the Chants, crossing the line in 18:14.78 (personal record) for a 10th place overall finish. The 10th place finish earned Saayman a spot on the 2012 Big South All-Conference Team. The freshman's honors continued to accumulate when she was named the 2012 Big South Freshman of the Year for the women.
Crossing the line right behind Saayman was senior Jessica Dennison who placed just outside the top ten with a 6K personal record time of 18:19.61, her third consecutive meet in which she posted a personal best time.
Junior Emily Marchini recorded a 13th place overall finish, crossing third for the Chants in 18:29.47. Following Marchini was Shelby Nicosia, the third Chant to turn in a personal best time (18:40.58) to finish 16th overall. Also running for the Chants was Stephanie Taylor (39th), Seanna Kautz (35th), Jackie Brengel (57th) and LaChelsie Thomas (63rd).
"Our ladies had an excellent race today," said head coach Alan Connie. "It was by far their best race of the year. They raced with total commitment and great passion. They also raced in a very smart way, following the race plan. To see them come away with the runner-up trophy was very gratifying."
Unsurprisingly, Liberty's Jennifer Klugh captured the Big South individual title for the third year in a row, completing the 6K course in 17:18 and earning 2012 Big South Runner of the Year (women) honors. Liberty's women also took the Big South team title, placing seven runners in the top 23 for 40 points.
In the men's 8K, sophomore Joseph Keitt led the Chants at the course that appears to be his favorite. Keitt shattered his previous 8K personal record of 25:42 (set Sept. 15 at the Big South Preview in Rock Hill) by posting a time of 25:19.15 to finish tenth overall and earn Big South All-Conference Team honors.
Finishing second for the Chants was sophomore Evan Niciphor. Niciphor crossed the line 18th overall with a time of 25:54.56. It was only the second event this season in which the sophomore did not lead the team.
Veteran senior Kyle Kling crossed third for the Chants, 51st overall in 27:12.66. Kling was also named to the 2012 Big South Cross Country All-Academic Team.
Liberty men's team matched the women's performance, taking the team title with 28 points. High Point finished second (49) and Campbell took third (92). Coastal finished with 178 points for sixth place. Winthrop's Jacob Smith won the men's 8K, finishing in 24:35.79.
Coastal's men's and women's cross country teams will next be in action Friday, Nov. 9 when they travel to Charlotte, N.C. (McAlpine Park) for the NCAA Southeast Regionals. The women's 6K will start at noon followed by the men's 10K