Pirates Set For Conference USA Championship
Oct. 28, 2011
IRVING, Texas (Conference USA Release) - After completing the regular-season schedule, the East Carolina men's and women's cross country teams will travel to Houston, Texas, to participate in the 2011 Conference USA Cross Country Championships. The event, hosted by Rice University and taking place at the Wildcat Golf Course, is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 31.
The men's 8K race is set for a 10:00 a.m. ET start while the women's 5K race will begin at 11:00 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow the races at noon. Admission is free.
At last year's league meet, current senior Zack Montijo, the 2008 Conference USA Freshman-of-the-Year, earned All-C-USA Third-Team honors. On the women's side, current seniors Brittany Copeland and Tara Wilson were named to the league's second and third team, respectively. It was the first time in program history the women had two All-C-USA selections in the same season. The league honors for Montijo and Copeland were the second of their careers.
The defending C-USA men's and women's cross country champion is Tulsa. A year ago, the Golden Hurricane became the third program in league history to sweep the championship titles. Both teams look to defend their crowns but will have strong competition against the remaining field.
Tulsa is the lone C-USA men's team currently ranked in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top-30 poll, checking in at No. 27. The Golden Hurricane is also the highest ranked regional team at No. 4 in the Midwest Region, followed by Rice and Houston at No. 6 and 8, respectively, in the South Central Region. Four-time C-USA champion UTEP appears at No. 9 in the Mountain Region but is always a strong contender for the league title.
Prior to the most recent USTFCCCA women's poll, Tulsa was ranked No. 30 in the country. In the South Central Regional poll, SMU and Rice are No. 3 and 4, respectively, while Tulsa is ranked 12th in the Midwest as is East Carolina in the Southeast. UTEP and UAB are both ranked 14th in their respective regions this week.
UTEP claimed both individual winners in 2010 as the men finished second and the women placed third as a team. Two-time C-USA medalist for the women, Risper Kimaiyo, returns to this year's meet looking to become the first three-repeat champion in league history. Pushing her on Halloween Monday will be redshirt senior and 2008 individual medalist Silje Fjortoft of SMU. Both enter the championship race with stellar regular-season meets.
The individual medalist on the men's side from a year ago also returns in UTEP's Elkana Rotich. The Miners have claimed four of the league's six individual titles since joining the conference in 2005. The program has also won four team titles.
The Top 21 finishers earn all-conference honors as 1-7 are placed on the first team, 8-14 are second teamers and the third team is comprised of the 15-21 finishers.
Official meet results and photo galleries will be available on the league's web site at C-USA Championships Central.
Complete coverage of the event will also be available on the C-USA Digital Network.