HU Pirates finish strong: MEAC Conference October recap

(Hampton University)

(Hampton University)

Kayla Key | Staff Writer

The mens and womens cross country teams had their share of gradual success throughout this season leading up to their ultimate challenge, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships in Dover, Delaware on October 29.

A week before the event, both teams honed in on key factors for continued success.

Right now were working on pack-running,said Junior Biology major Pollyanna Velasco on October 24. We need the girls to stay strong and push each other throughout the workouts.

As MEACs snuck up on the lone senior, Amanda Delacruz, Senior Liberal Art major, she expressed her thought process going into her last cross country championship. Its really a one and done effort at this point, and I dont want to regret anything that happens. My advice for the freshmen would be to really embrace this experience,” she shared.

Going into their last meet, the men felt like they were the underdogs, but their goal was to run a personal best.

I feel shocked about the unexpected pressure going into the race, but I will try to meet mine and the coaches expectations, said sophomore Sports Management major Tayvon Burris the day prior to the event.  

When all was said and done at the Delaware State Outreach and Research Center on Saturday morning, both teams walked away knowing they gave it their all. The Lady Pirates scored 93 points and finished in third place overall, behind four-time champions from Florida A&M with 53 points and Maryland Eastern Shore with 60 points.

Velsasco received All-MEAC honors with her seventh place finish, running the 5K race (3.1 miles) in 18:44.96.

The following are the times for the other runners on the team:

  • 17th: Amanda Delacruz-19:23.20
  • 18th: Kayla Key-19:32.41
  • 23rd: Alycia Higgins-19:49.81
  • 28th: Asia Johnson-20:16.78
  • 46th: Ashley Modeste-21:05.23
  • 53rd: Crystal Eley-22:07.00

The Pirates scored 115 points in the meet and came in fourth. Maryland Eastern Shore placed first with 38 points, Norfolk State came in a close second with 39 points and followed by North Carolina A&T with 84 points.

Sophomore Emmanuel Too finished in 10th place running an 8K race (5 miles) in 26:09.72, and freshman Geoffrey McCullough finished in 13th place running 26:23.10 to join Too in All-MEAC honors.

The following are the times for the other runners on the team:

  • 21st: Stanley Davis-27:23.10
  • 28th: Tayvon Burris-27:55.79
  • 46th: Eric Ellis-29:37.03
  • 58th: Khalil Gary-31:56.17

“I’m not mad about the performances, I am disappointed. We put in more miles than any other team, but you guys ran for yourselves. You fell apart. I said, ‘You guys needed to run together and push each other in order to win’ and you didn’t do that. Take what happened today, and let it motivate you to do better during indoor season,” said coach Krystle Hemby to her squad following the event.

The Pirates started their road to success in September at the Delaware State Farm Run Invitational in Dover, DE on September 24, where both teams finished in 2nd place overall.

The following week, the Pirates took on the Robert Shumake HBCU Challenge in Cary, NC on October 1. The Lady Pirates won the meet, which is a tradition for the women with them winning four of the last five championships. The men finished in 2nd place.

The men and women will complete the season at the NCAA Southeast Regional on November 11  in Charlottesville, Virginia. Following this meet, both teams will wind down and relax before they have to prepare for the indoor track season.

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