The Blue Raider cross country teams are back in action, as the men’s team finished first in the Brooks Twilight Classic four-mile run, while the women’s team placed fifth in the 5k, Saturday night in Memphis.

The men’s squad wins its opening meet for the second year in a row, placing first in last year’s Belmont Opener. Geoffry Cheruiyot placed second (19:44.38) in the race as three Blue Raiders finished in the top 10, with newcomer Sampson Laari in sixth (19:56.51) and senior Hillary Rono close behind for seventh (20:02.12).

Sophomore Kigen Chemadi (20:06.22) and senior Shadrack Matelong (20:20.46) also finished in the top 20.

The team finished with an outstanding 47 points, with second place Alabama finishing 19 points behind the Blue Raiders.

On the women’s side veteran Hannah Maina helped Middle Tennessee to a team top five finish, while placing 11th (17:56.02) in the meet. Junior Rhema Cheruiyot finished 25th (18:20.71), and Josphine Kiptebeny also finished in the top 30, placing 29th (18:24.35).

The team finished with 133 points, while facing tough competition. Three of the South Region’s top five teams competed in the race.

The results from both teams impressed Associate Head Coach, Keith Vroman.

“Good team effort today,” Vroman said. “We still have some work to do, but it was a great start to the season.”

Middle Tennessee is slated to return to competition this Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn., with the UTC PowerAde Invitational Sept. 9 at 5 p.m.

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