Walston, Harding lead XU runners at nationals
November 22, 2008
KENOSHA, Wis. — Xavier University of Louisiana
cross country freshman Ray Walston ran 8,000 meters in 28 minutes, 2 seconds Saturday to finish
271st out of 331 runners and lead the Gold Rush in the NAIA National Championships.
Walston, from Atlanta, Ga., ran his third fastest
time of the season at this distance and was the fastest Gold Rush runner for
the seventh time in eight races.
The Gold Rush finished 31st out of 32 schools in team scoring.
In the women's race, Xavier's Ebony Harding ran 5,000
meters in 20:41.6 -- the second fastest by a Gold Nugget at the national meet --
and placed 282nd out of 327 runners.
Harding, a junior from Baton Rouge, La., was seven-tenths
of a second from matching Katrina Davis' 2003 nationals time of 20:40.9, the
best by an XU female at this meet.
Xavier's women finished 32nd out of 32 schools in team scoring.
No Xavier runners recorded season-best times. Other XU
runners were Darren Wallace (28:45.1, 297th place), Joe Drexler-Dreis (31:07.5, 324th),
Bryan Khan (31:13.3, 325th), Jordan Wilson (32:45.7, 328th) and Mario Myles (35:02.7, 331st)
in the men's race and Anna D'Souza (21:34.6, 307th), Ashley Taylor (22:56.5, 320th),
Stacey Windon (23:34.5, 324th) and Jennifer Garcia (23:39.9, 325th) in the women's.
Race temperatures were in the upper 20s. It was the second
team appearance by the Rush and Nuggets at nationals and their first since 2002.
Top-ranked Malone repeated as the men's team champion,
and second-ranked Azusa Pacific won its first women's championship. Individual
champions were Azusa's Aron Rono (23:45.8) in the men's race and Indiana Tech's
Alissa McKaig (16:41.4) in the women's.