CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Senior Joan Tangwar of the USC Upstate women's cross country team took top honors tonight at the Charlotte Invitational, while the Upstate men's team finished sixth amongst tough competition.
Tangwar won her second race of the season, posting a Spartan record with a time of 16:53.7 in the women's 5K and beating 289 other competitors. She was followed by fellow seniors Jemeli Sang in fifth-place and Carolyne Chelulei in eighth with times of 17:13.5 and 17:30.2, respectively. Sang and Chelulei also set personal records tonight. The trio helped the women's squad to an 11th-place finish out of 36 six teams.
"It was great to have three women finish in the top eight against such tough competition," said Upstate's interim-head cross country coach Carson Blackwelder. "I was glad to see the women's team be so aggressive today. We keep improving as a whole and the team is in great shape. We keep looking toward the conference meet; that's the goal."
In the men's 8K, junior Gilbert Kemboi earned a second-place finish with a time of 24:14.0, beating 257 other runners. Junior Christian Ritacco crossed the line in 26:01.9, coming in 63rd, while sophomore Ross Oden came in 68th with a time of 26:11.8. As a team the Spartan men finished sixth out of 34 teams.
"I'm very pleased with a sixth-place team finish here, running against really strong teams," Blackwelder said. "The men's team was consistent today and it's nice to see that our training is paying off."
Upstate competed against runners from three ACC schools in Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. The Spartans also ran against South Carolina, an SEC program, as well as athletes from numerous other teams ranked in the South and Southeastern Regions.
Photo credit Mike and Matt Johnson.