Aug. 31, 2010
WINSTON-SALEM, NC - The expectations will be high for the Winston-Salem State University cross country teams as both squads are poised for a stellar effort in 2010. Both the Rams and Lady Rams return with all of the team's top runners from last season's breakout effort. Under the guidance of interim head coach Inez Turner, along with a talented cast of newcomers, the Rams and Lady Rams have all the pieces in place for an historic cross country season.
"The coaching staff and I are very optimistic about the 2010 Winston-Salem State cross country teams," Turner said. "The athletes themselves are very positive and ready to adapt to the new atmosphere and are approaching everything with the right attitude."
Turner and her staff have already set their goals high for the upcoming season as the Rams and Lady Rams make a return to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and seek the first cross title in school history.
"We are aiming to win both the men's and women's CIAA cross country titles," Turner added. "I believe we can because I can already see the will power that these student-athletes are showing in practice."
Leading the way for the Rams will be sophomore Andrew Chebii, who had a fantastic freshman season in 2009. The Marakwet, Edloret, Kenya native won three of the five meets that he competed in and finished in the top five of every meet of the season. Among several highlights of the season, Chebii won the 2010 Walt Disney World Cross Country Classic with a 25:22 in the men's 8K run. He set a meet record for the largest margin of victory by any runner. His best 8K time of the season came at the Race of Champions at the 2010 Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, N.C. Only Maryland's Alex Lundy crossed the finish line before Chebii.
Also returning for the Rams will be the junior duo of Aaron Barnes and Desmond Wiggan. Both runners competed well all season long as they battled in every meet of the season. Barnes recorded a pair of top three performances in five meets last season. His best 8K time of the season came at the Race of Champions at the 2010 Great American Cross Country Festival where he finished the 8K event in 26:10. Wiggan was also impressive with a pair of fourth place finishes as well. His best 8K time of the season came at the UNC-Pembroke Invitational where he placed fourth with a 27:17.83.
The Lady Rams will also feature a trio of quality runners returning to the squad this season as well. Sophomore Tyrah Winfrey had a spectacular freshman season for the Lady Rams last season and could become one of the top women's runners in the CIAA after a season of development. Last season, Winfrey was the Lady Rams' top runner in every meet of the season. She highlighted the season with a win at the 2009 Salem College Invitational where she recorded a 21:57.7 to win the 5K event. Her best time of the season came at the Race of Champions at the 2009 Great American Cross Country Festival where she placed 56th with a 20:26 in the event.
Also returning to the Lady Rams will be junior Ashley Lawson and sophomore Manuela Rigaud. As a sophomore in 2009, Lawson stepped up to become one of the top runners on the Lady Rams' team. She highlighted the season with a 14th place finish at the Salem College Invitational. She recorded a 23:18.3 in the 5K event. Her best time of the season came at the Race of Champions at the 2009 Great American Cross Country Festival. She recorded a 21:34 in the event.
Like Winfrey, Rigaud made an immediate impact on the Lady Rams cross country team. Rigaud posted the season-best 21:30.6 at the Greensboro Invitational.
Both the Rams and Lady Rams will add a talented cast of newcomers as the Lady Rams will welcome a trio of freshmen. The team will feature freshmen Kristi Baptiste, Khadija Randall, and Brittany Killebrew while the Rams will feature freshman Kevin Rice. All three runners were decorated student-athletes in school and could make an impact for the Rams and Lady Rams this season.
Birth the Rams and Lady Rams will open the 2010 cross country season on September 17th at the 2010 Reebok Cross Country Invitational hosted by North Carolina State. For more information on WSSU cross country, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2909 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.