Clayton State men’s cross country places 6th in Sewanee/Berry Invite
Rome, GA – The Clayton State men's cross country team opened its season on Saturday with a satisfying finish led by an impressive start by a new face on the men's squad.
The Lakers finished sixth out of 15 teams with 148 points in the 8K Sewanee/Berry Invitational on Saturday. Freshman Job Kemboi, of Kenya, was impressive in his first-ever Clayton State race, placing fifth and posting one of Clayton State's top performances for a freshman in his first race with a time of 26:43. He finished 41 seconds off the winning time in the race.
Overall, NCAA Division I Mississippi State won the race with 36 points, followed by the University of the Cumberlands with 95, Bryan College, 105; Emory, 110; and NCAA Southeast Division II rival King College with 128.
"A satisfying start, but our lack of depth showed," said Mead in his 18th year as the Laker head coach. "Job had an impressive collegiate debut."
Behind Kemboi, junior Ayrton Azcue had a personal best and top-15 finish with a time of 26:59. Ciaran Lane, in his first Clayton State meet after transferring from Oklahoma City, placed 36th overall and third for the Lakers with a time of 28:03.
Junior Charles Anderson placed 63rd and fourth for the team with a time of 29:32. Anderson, a two-time All-Peach Belt Conference performer, had his back tighten up in the race, losing several spots. Senior Ricky Fort rounded the scoring for Clayton State, placing 64th with a time of 29:35.
"Newcomer Ciaran ran solid, as did Ricky, who had not run cross country since 2010," said Mead. "Scooter's back started giving him problems, and he lost 30 places."
Behind Fort, sophomore Tanner Thomas finished 91st with a time of 31:14 in front of sophomore Matthew Bailey in 98th position with a time of 31:49.
"Tanner and Matt survived the humidity and this experience made us tougher for the season ahead," said Mead.
Clayton State will return to action on Saturday in the Georgia State Invitational in Hampton, GA. The meet begins at 9:30 a.m.