October 28, 2010

Camels head to Upstate for A-Sun Championships

While the Campbell football team looks to get a big Pioneer League win against Marist on Saturday, coach Ken Frenette and the Campbell cross country teams will be in Spartanburg, S.C. for the Atlantic Sun Cross Country Championships, hosted by USC Upstate.

The Camels already have all-conference performers on their current roster. Senior Baillie Locke (Wiarton, Ontario) was a 2007 and 2008 All-Conference selection. Sophomore DeLohnni Nicol-Samuel (Brandon, Manitoba) was named as an all-conference performer last season. Several Camels are looking to accomplish the same feat this season.

At last year's A-Sun Championships, hosted by Stetson in Deland, Fla., the CU men took ninth while the women took eighth. DeLohnni Nicol-Samuel, a freshman at the time, led the men with a 12th place finish. Rachel Deline (Belleville, Ontario), now a junior, led the women with a 20th place finish.

Kennesaw State won the men's team title at last season's championship. Ken Rotich, of East Tennessee State, took the individual title. On the women's side, Jacksonville cruised to the team title. Belmont's Brittany Thune won the individual championship.

This year's A-Sun Championships at Upstate will be at a place the Camels are rather familiar with. Campbell has already recorded a strong performance at USC Upstate once this season. The women finished tied for third while the men finished fifth in the USC Upstate Eye Opener Invitational back on Sept. 4, the season opener for both teams. Senior Terence Attema (Smithville, Ontario) paced the Campbell men on the 8K course, as he has in every race so far this season, with a personal best time of 24:52.00, finishing second.

Like Attema, sophomore Rachel Deline has paced her teammates in all meets so far this season. She finished 11th at Upstate last month with a time of 18:54.00 at the 5K course. Freshman Ashley Matthews (Raleigh, N.C.) was nipping at her heels though, finishing 12th in her first collegiate race, just three seconds behind Deline.

In their second meet of the season, on Sept. 10, both the CU men and women won at the UNC Wilmington Seahawk Invitational. The men registered four of the top seven individual finishers, including the winner of the race, Terence Attema. The senior notched a time of 18:36.16 at the 6K event, his second career individual win. DeLohnni Nicol-Samuel clocked in with a time of 19:20.38, finishing third. Freshman Morgan Timiney (Kalamazoo, Mich.) crossed the finish line 14.38 seconds behind Nicol-Samuel to take fourth. Freshman Chris Schulist (Holland, Mich.) took seventh with a mark of 19:42.21.

The women were also impressive at UNCW. Deline placed seventh for the Camels with a time of 15:00.16 at the 4K meet. Freshman Samantha Robbins (London, Ontario) posted a time of 15:08.40, good for ninth. Ashley Matthews finished less than two seconds behind Robbins to take 10th and give the Camels three runners in the top-10.

At the Asics-Winthrop Invitational on Sept. 18, Attema continued his incredible start to the 2010 season by finishing in the top-2 for the third time in as many events. Attema lowered his personal record at an 8K venue for the second time in the 2010 season with a time of 24:42.65 to push the Camels to a fifth place team finish. The women took fourth at the 5K event and were led by Rachel Deline who finished 19th with a time of 18:57.99.

Following a bye week, the Camels took part in the George Mason Invitational. Once again, Attema set a personal best at an 8K course. While finishing sixth, the senior had a time of 24:36.00. Rachel Deline notched her second top 10 on the season by finishing eighth, crossing the line with a 22:40.30 at the longest women's venue on the season (6K).

The Camels faced their stiffest competition so far this season at the Appalachian State Blue Ridge Open on Oct. 15. Attema finished 11th individually with a time of 25:13.90 against runners from the likes of Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Virginia Tech to push the Camels to an eighth place team finish.

CU will be facing tough competition in the A-Sun Championships as well. The conference has three men's and three women's teams ranked in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Region Poll (Oct. 18).

Defending Atlantic Sun Champion Kennesaw State is ranked seventh in the current men's poll. Belmont is ranked 13th while Lipscomb wraps up the A-Sun teams ranked in the regional poll at 15th.

In the women's poll, Lipscomb is rated sixth, just one spot ahead of North Florida. Defending conference champion Jacksonville is ranked 11th.

A mix of Campbell veterans and newcomers are looking to ruffle some feathers at today's event. With a great performance at the Atlantic Sun Championships, the Camels could advance to the NCAA Southeast Regionals on Nov. 13. The meet will be hosted by the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.