Princess Anne, MD - The FAMU Rattlers and Lady Rattlers took home the first MEAC cross country championships in over a decade as both teams swept the races this morning on the campus of the University Maryland Eastern Shore.
The Lady Rattlers last won a cross country championship in 2001 under then coach Rey Robinson, but the men's team had not won in 24 years, winning last in 1988, during the tenure of legendary coach Bobby Lang. Men's coach Wayne Angel and women's coach Darlene Moore had to go a full year with a chip on their shoulders after both placing second in the 2011 MEAC championship.
The Lady Rattlers used a team of conference unknowns to bolster their roster. Simone Durden, the team's leader, took third place overall running the 5K race in 19:08.68. One of the biggest improvements from last season was Clarriccia Golden, who came in second for the Lady Rattlers, placing 13th overall. She completed the course in 19:38.20, besting teammate Chandelic Jackson by one place. Jackson navigated the course in 19:42.70.
The next two places would be occupied by newcomers Effiey Kosgei and Zenia George. Kosgei finished 16th overall (19:45.06), while George finished 17th in 19:45.70. Ciera Williams placed 35th overall (20:34.68), Ariel Allen (20:40.40) finished 36th and Cynthia Chelelgo finished 44th at 21:08.03 to close out the team.
Coach Darlene Moore was named the 2012 MEAC Most Outstanding coach for the team's performance. "We were so close last year. We went out and recruited the runners we needed to bring this home. I am very pleased with the way our young ladies performed, allowing us to bring this championship back to FAMU," Moore said.
For their top 15 finishes, Durden, Golden and Jackson were named to the 2012 All-MEAC squad.
On the men's side, sophomore Elias Chesire continued to impress. He was named the co-Most Outstanding Athlete for the 2012 MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Championsip, but left nothing to chance today, taking first place and winning the 2012 MEAC Cross Country Most Outstanding Athlete. Chesire finished the 8K race in 24:54.96, just ahead of teammate Shuaib Winters. Winters, who was the 2010 MEAC Cross Country Most Outstanding Athlete, finished in 24:56.89. Newcomers Kevin Marindich and Antony Kimaiyo finished fifth and sixth respectively. Marindich ran 25:35.26, while Kimaiyo finished in 25:49.77.
Sophomore Dieumy Duclos, who finished 14th overall locked up the championship for the Rattlers with a 26:29.45 time. Lamere Buchanon (26:37.58) placed 16th overall, while Isaiah Coleman finished in 29:09.86.
Five Rattlers made the All-MEAC team for their top 15 finishes. Chesire, Winters, Kimaiyo, Marindich and Duclos all earned the honor.
Angel, also earned MEAC Most Outstanding Coach for the team's victory today. "It was a bitter pill to swallow last year, but we knew what we had to do and we went out recruited and we put in the miles. We were on a mission and they accomplished it. My hats off to them," Angel said.