Oct. 31, 2011
HOUSTON, Texas- The Marshall University cross country teams laced-up for the 2011 Cross Country Championships on Monday, hoping to improve upon past seasons’ performances with top-3 finishes at this year’s meet.
Taking place at the Wildcat Golf Club in Houston, Texas, the men’s 8k and women’s 6k races were all that stood between Marshall and conference glory, but as the two squads soon discovered, this year’s competition would put up a solid fight.
Coming off a first place finish at the Evansville Invitational, senior runner Matt Schiffbauer was looking to finish first overall and help carry his team to its first top-3 finish in school history. Yet after 5 miles of intense running and hard-work, Schiffbauer finished 7-seconds off fifth place runner Andy Heyes of Tulsa to claim the Thundering Herd’s highest finish of sixth place with a 24:09.8 time. Junior David Caldwell was the next to cross the finish line for the Herd, as he finished with a 25:42.6 time to conclude the race in 28th place. Ryan Bowser and Chris Cole came next, and the pair finished side-by-side with 34th and 35th place times of 26:11.8 and 26:19.6 respectively.
By the time the 10:00 a.m. race wrapped-up, Marshall had accrued a point total of 133 that was good enough for fifth place in the eight team field. The top three teams were Tulsa, UTEP, and Houston, while the tournament host, Rice, finished one spot ahead of Marshall in fourth place with 108 points. Memphis, East Carolina, and Tulane rounded out the bottom three.
In the women’s 6k race, the Herd was hoping to overcome its last place finish at the 2010 meet with an improved finish this year in Houston. Yet the story changed little for the ladies, as the team finished in 12th place out of 12 teams for the second year running.
Junior Leslie Thomas
was the first lady to cross the line for the Herd, placing 34th
with a time of 18:33.2, while teammate Kelley Mortakis
was the next Marshall runner to finish with a 54th
place time of 19:15.6. The team concluded the tournament with 281 points, which was 10-points off 11th
place Southern Miss., and 224 points behind first place SMU.