After dealing with temperatures in the 90s during their last meet at McNeese, it seems as if the cooler mid-50 degree temperatures in Clinton agreed with the Demons. The men finished seventh out of 20 teams and the women 12th out of 18 in today’s Mississippi College Invitational.
This was also both teams’ first meet this season in the longer distances, with the men running 8000 meters and the women running 6000 meters. These are the same distances they will run in the Conference Championships in Conway, Arkansas on November 1.
Head coach De’Shalyn Jones was pleased with her teams’ performances and was glad they got a chance to run in the longer distance.
“It was the freshmen’s first time running at this distance and now they know what to look forward to in Conference,” Jones said.
The Demons finished seventh overall with 234 total team points. Conference opponent Houston Baptist was first overall (66). Some other teams from the Southland Conference and around the state that competed were Louisiana Tech (second, 79), Southeastern (fourth, 104), and Louisiana-Monroe (13th, 312).
The men were led by junior Mike Alukunyang, who finished 33rd of 171 runners with a time of 26:39.04. Also running for the Demons were juniors Yannik Gerland (38, 26:43.52) and Darius Groves who set a personal record for the course (43, 26:52.47). Freshman Payten Vidourek (73, 28:02.61) and sophomores Clayton Casner (83, 28:29.95) and Alex Melcer (89, 28:42.92) rounded out the field for the Demons.
The women were led once more by junior Isabella Hudson, who placed 22nd out of 149 runners with a course personal record of 23:53.96. Freshmen Olivia Slayter (51, 25:09.25) and Nijha Composto (67, 25:46.02), junior Jasmine Dansby (95, 27:10.7), and freshmen Olivia Sipes (97, 27:18.31) and Bronwyn Buchanan (108, 28:44.42).
The Lady Demons finished 12th in the team standings with 288 total points. The winner in the women’s race was Houston Baptist as well with 66 total points and Southeastern finished second with 91. Other notable teams were UL-Monroe (sixth, 177) and Louisiana Tech (11th, 226).
Hudson felt good about the race in general and was happy to set a course record for herself. She feels like she has a strong momentum going to carry her into Conference on a faster course.
“I felt strong, so for the next one for the next one I’m hoping to shave off some more time, especially with all the hills adding to my time on this course,” Hudson said.
“Overall, I think it was a pretty good meet,” De’Shalyn Jones said. “Everybody was pretty happy with what they did and we’re going to keep going for Conference.”
The Southland Conference Championships will be held in Conway, Arkansas on Friday, November 1.
CREDIT: Mark Fox, Northwestern State University Sports Information