Harding, Walston lead Xavier in Twilight Classic
September 13, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Junior Ebony Harding and freshman
Ray Walston were the fastest runners Saturday night for Xavier University of Louisiana
in the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic at Mike Rose Soccer Complex.
It was the season opener for the Gold Rush and the Gold Nuggets,
who withdrew from their first two scheduled meets because of Hurricane Gustav.
Harding, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference runner-up in 2006 and
2007, ran 5,000 meters in 21 minutes, 14.49 seconds to finish 93rd out of 275 women. For
the 14th time in as many collegiate races, Harding was the Nuggets' fastest finisher.
Freshman Anna D'Souza was 137th in 22:27.84 in her Xavier
debut and was the only other Nugget to finish in the top half of the women's field.
Walston, in his first collegiate race, ran 8,000 meters in
29:15.93 to place 114th out of 238 men. He was the only Gold Rush runner to finish in
the top half. Darren Wallace, All-GCAC each of the past two seasons, was 125th in 29:32.33.
No Xavier runner had a faster time Saturday than in the 2007
Twilight Classic, when it was the sixth meet on the schedule and when Harding ran a
school-record 20:18.81. Harding was about 56 seconds slower this time, and six of
the nine returning Xavier runners were at least 2½ minutes slower than their '07 times.
Xavier, an NAIA school, scored 758 points to place 28th
out of 36 women's teams, 14 of which came from NCAA Division I. Arkansas was the
women's team champion with 22 points, and Catherine White ran 17:39.51 to lead a
1-2-3 finish for the Ladybacks.
The Gold Rush scored 661 points to place 25th out of 29
men's teams. Harding, ranked fourth in NCAA Division II, scored 38 points to win the team
championship over 11 Division I opponents. Harding freshman Daniel Kirwa (24:08.52)
won the race by nearly half a minute.
Xavier's next meet will be Saturday in the Gulf Coast Stampede
at Pensacola, Fla. The women will run 5,000 meters at 7:30 a.m., and the men will run
8,000 meters at 8 a.m. The Rush and Nuggets will return to Memphis in two weeks for the