Oct. 28, 2006
By Matt Crouch
LINCOLN, Neb. - Finishing almost 11 seconds ahead of his nearest competition, Southern Illinois University sophomore Mohamed Mohamed pulled away to win the men's individual title at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.
The men's team finished third overall while the women's team came in second.
"It's been 10 years since we had an individual winner in this meet, so it feels great. Mohamed had a great summer of training and it's great to see it paying off for him," said SIU head cross country coach Matt Sparks.
"The top 10 runners ran together for the first four miles of the race, but Mohamed broke away about that time and distanced himself from the rest of the pack. Now, it's time to go to regionals and see what he can do there."
Mohamed completed the race in 24:56.85 with his nearest competition, Northern Iowa's Dorian Ulrey, coming in second with a time of 25:07.05. He is the first Saluki to win the MVC individual title since Stelios Marneros in 1996.
The men's team tallied 71 points in the meet to finish third. The Salukis finished behind overall champion Indiana State (50 pts.) and Drake (63 pts.).
"It was great for Kevin Doran to come in and earn all-conference honors. He will be our only senior next year and we look forward to what he can do for us then," said Sparks.
"It was also great to see Jeff Schirmer step up for us. He was the second-highest true freshman in the field and that is very promising."
The women's cross country team finished second with 80 points after being predicted to finish third out of the 10-team field. Wichita State came away with the overall team championship, finishing with 38 points.
"I was really excited to get second. The women have finished second, second, third, second in the past four years to really establish ourselves as one of the top teams in the conference," said Sparks.
Senior Sarah Rinker led the way for SIU, the lone Saluki to earn all-Valley honors for the women's team. She finished 10th out of the 76 runners in the field with a time of 18:21.25.
Drake's Ashley Anklam won the individual championship with a time of 17:36.80.
Following Rinker was junior Brittani Christensen in 11th with a time of 18:24.90. Seniors Katie Birn and Lindsay Wagner followed Christensen, finishing 16th and 17th, respectively. Birn finished in 18:34.05 while Wagner came in at 18:38.00.
Rounding out scoring for SIU was freshman Nefeteri Williams in 26th. She came in with a time of 18:56.20.
The Saluki cross country team returns to action Nov. 11 with the NCAA Regional championship in Minneapolis, Minn.
1 - Indiana State - 50 pts.
2 - Drake - 63 pts.
3 - Southern Illinois - 71 pts.
4 - Wichita State - 121 pts.
5 - Northern Iowa - 137 pts.
6 - Bradley - 151 pts.
7 - Evansville - 161 pts.
8 - Illinois State - 168 pts.
9 - Creighton - 213 pts.
1 - Wichita State - 38 pts.
2 - Southern Illinois - 80 pts.
3 - Missouri State - 83 pts.
4 - Northern Iowa - 90 pts.
5 - Indiana State - 121 pts.
6 - Bradley - 156 pts.
7 - Illinois State - 160 pts.
8 - Drake - 187 pts.
9 - Creighton - 201 pts.
10 - Evansville - 289 pts.