November 20, 2010

King Men's Cross Country narrowly misses trip to NCAA

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - King College ran to a fourth-place run Saturday at the 2010 NCAA Division II Men's Cross Country Southeast Region Championship, just outside of an automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA Division II National Championship, but a Tornado earned All-Region honors.

The Tornado totaled 137 points, 19 behind Mars Hill (N.C.) College for the last of the three automatic bids. The region crown was captured by nationally ranked Queens (N.C.) University of Charlotte with Columbus State (Ga.) University finishing second. Queens, a region winner for a fourth-straight time, posted a team score of 36 with Columbus State 43 behind.

Naseem Haje (Hagerstown, Md.) ran the race in 31 minutes and 47.3 seconds, good enough for 11th. He was 12 seconds outside the Top-10, but the sophomore made it to the All-Region squad along with the rest of the Top-15.

Spencer Frantom (Morristown, Tenn.) was three seconds out of the Top-15 and All-Region honors with his run of 32.20.5 in 18th.

Justin Humphreys (Bristol, Tenn.) needed 33:14.8 to finish which ranked 30th. Close behind in 34th was Daniel Hamilton (Franklin, N.C.). Hamilton crossed the finish line at the 33:22.4 mark.

Taylor Dix (Memphis, Tenn.) rounded out King's Top-5 in 48th with his time of 33:59.6.

The individual crown was captured by Columbus State's Meshack Koyiaki in 29:45.5, two seconds in front of Queens' Michael Crouch. Koyiaki was runner up in the 2009 event.

Queens put five runners in the Top-13, with four in the Top-10, while Columbus State had three among the Top-11.

King entered the event ranked No. 4 in the region by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Mount Olive (N.C.) College, the No. 3 team in the region rankings, finished the region championship in sixth. Mars Hill came into the event No. 5 in the region ranking.

The racers were at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C. as Queens hosted the event for the first time.