Columbus State Cross Country Teams Compete in Crimson Classic
Tuscaloosa, AL – Meshack Koyiaki highlighted an outstanding performance by the Columbus State cross country teams at the Crimson Classic by winning the men's 8K race with a time of 23:44. With that time, he also set a new course record besting the old mark by 10 seconds which was set by Alabama's German Beltran in 1988.
It is the second meet that Koyiaki, the reigning Peach Belt Conference Runner of the Week, has won this season, taking home the Georgia Southwestern Remembrance Run title last weekend. The junior is yet to lose a regular season meet, getting nipped in the Southeast Regional in a photo-finish to take second and placing ninth at nationals in 2009.
Columbus State was one of five schools to place two runners in the top 20 as Nicholas Kering came in at a time of 25:31 to place 20th. The other four schools (Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas A&M) were all Division I institutions. David Marley (26:20), Nathan Prickett (27:00), Ian Edwards (27:03) rounded out the team scoring for CSU, coming in 37th, 50th and 51st respectively. Also running in the race for the Cougars were Stephen Bowers (27:15), Andy Henderson (27:27) and Justin Keith (29:50).
Alabama won the men's event with a team score of 57 with its four top runners placing in the top 11. Columbus State finished sixth with 135 points, the highest non-Division I school finish. It was 87 points higher than Mississippi Valley State who came in seventh place. Rounding out the top five was Ole Miss (78 points), Texas A&M (82 points), Auburn (95 points) and Kennesaw State (108 points). Eighteen total teams competed on the men's side including 12 Division I schools.
On the women's side, Brittney Skiles came in 17th with a time of 18:11. Not far behind Skiles was teammate Naomi Tanui (18:50) who placed 35th. Completing the team scoring for Columbus State was Ashley Arnold (20:05), Caroline Rotich (20:29) and Moneque English (20:52), finishing 74th, 84th and 89th, respectively. Moneka English also ran for CSU finishing 18 seconds behind her twin sister placing 94th.
The Lady Cougars finished 10th as a team with a team score of 264 points. They also were the highest placing non-Division I institution in the field, which was won by Texas A&M. Nineteen total teams competed in the women's race including 14 Division I schools.
"This is a great team showing for both the men's and women's team," said head coach J.D. Evilsizer. "Meshack was absolutely fantastic today and I'm sure caught a lot of people by surprise. There have been some fast times in the low 24's (minutes), but not many in the 23's (minutes). I am 99% sure that Meshack has the fastest time in the nation right now on all levels. It was also our best team average finish we ever had, so I am very pleased with how we performed."
Both teams will have a two week break before hitting the course again in the Greater Louisville Classic. It is hosted by the University of Louisville and again will feature a predominate Division I field. Louisville, KY is also the site of the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships.