CLEMSON, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams competed in the Clemson Invitational today as senior Jemeli Sang took top honors in the women's race.
Sang posted a school record in the women's 6K with a time of 20:42.88, followed by teammate and fellow senior Joan Tangwar in third with a time of 20:49.08. Carolyne Chelulei took 30th, crossing the line in 21:55.32 as the senior trio helped the Spartans to a sixth-place finish out of 12 teams.
The Spartans competed against runners from Anderson, Chattahoochee Tech, Converse, Davidson, Erskine, Florida State, Furman, Georgia Tech, King College, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and host Clemson with the women running a 6K Friday, instead of the usual 5K.
"Jemeli had a great race, it was her first collegiate cross country victory," said Upstate's interim-head cross country coach Carson Blackwelder. "Joan and Jemeli followed the race plan by running near the front, being patient and then pushing the last couple miles. Overall it was good race for our team. This was their first race at the 6k distance, which we will see later this year at regionals."
In the men's 8K, junior Christian Ritacco was the top finisher for Upstate, coming in 52nd with a career-best time of 25:33.55. Sophomore Ross Oden claimed the 64th slot with a time of 25:55.90, while classmate Andrew Kipchumba registered a time of 26:02.70 for 66thplace. Ritacco, Oden and Kipchumba helped the Spartans to an eighth-place finish out of 12 teams.
"The race was exactly what we needed with the cool weather aiding us in some fast times," Blackwelder said. "Eleven of our 14 guys recorded personal records. It proves that our training is working and we are getting better each day."