Xavier's Harding breaks 5K school record for sixth time
October 3, 2009
PENSACOLA, Fla. — Xavier University of Louisiana's Ebony
Harding ran 5,000 meters in a school-record 19 minutes, 26 seconds to finish 19th out of 99
runners Saturday in the women's division of the Gulf Coast Stampede cross country meet.
It was the sixth time that Harding, a senior from Baton Rouge,
La., has broken the XU record. Harding has done it twice this season, and it was the
second straight year she broke the record in this meet.
Harding's previous best was 19:47.14 at the season-opening
Southern Miss Invitational on Sept. 4. She set an XU record of 20:16 at the 2008 Gulf Coast Stampede.
Harding, a three-time runner-up in the Gulf Coast Athletic
Conference, finished five seconds behind Spring Hill's Kate Imwalle, the 2008 GCAC champion.
Imwalle finished ahead of Harding by more than a minute each of the four times they raced
this past season.
Xavier freshmen Mark Dotson and Matt Pieri led the Gold Rush
with personal bests in the 8,000-meter men's race. Dotson was 22nd out of 94 runners in 27:17,
and Pieri was 29th in 27:49. It was the first time in Gold Rush history that two runners ran 8K
in less than 28 minutes in the same race.
Xavier also got season bests from Brianna Dekine (22:14),
Ashley Taylor (22:22) and Jennifer Garcia (22:53) in the women's race and Darren Wallace
(28:11.9), Ray Walston (28:19), Bryan Khan (31:10) and Jordan Wilson (31:14) in the men's.
James Hearn's 31:15 in the men's race was a personal best by nearly a minute and a half.
Mindy Thomas won the women's race in 17:37 — the second straight
year she finished first as an unattached runner. South Alabama's Micah Tirop won the men's race in 24:42.
South Alabama had seven of the first 11 finishers and
won the men's team championship with 19 points. It was the Jaguars' third consecutive
victory. Xavier scored 175 points to place seventh out of 11 schools.
Southern Miss scored 45 points to win the women's division.
Xavier was ninth out of 12 teams with 246 points.
Both Xavier teams will be idle next week, then return
to competition Oct. 17 in the Choctaw Open at Clinton, Miss.