Mercer at Furman Invitational

The Mercer University men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the third annual Furman Cross Country Classic on Saturday in Greenville, S.C.

The men’s team finished 10th out of 12 NCAA Division I programs, posting an average time of 27:36.62 en route to a total team score of 305 in the team’s first 8k race of the year.

Freshman Ahmed Jama once again led the Bears, completing the course in 26:19.34 on his way to a 41st-place finish. Mark Brannen was next Mercer runner to cross the line, leading a pack of runners with a 62nd place finish (27:38.28). Nicholas Ashmead was just five seconds behind in 65th (27:43.46), while Evan Park followed in 67th (27:47.30).

Justin Hanson rounded out the scoring for the Bears, wrapping up his day in 70th place with a time of 28:34.72. Abraham Balawi and McHenry Power closed out Mercer’s top-7 with times of 28:47.40 and 28:49.10 respectively.

No. 18 Furman ran away from the crowd to win the men’s meet, while Auburn and Wake Forest rounded out the top three.

The Bears’ women’s squad finished 10th out of the 13-team field, compiling an average time of 24:04.81 for the 6k course to finish with 282 team points.

Jenna Gipperich led Mercer once again, finishing 38th with a time of 22:48.11. Fellow senior Kami Orrender was close behind, crossing the line in 22:58.43 to place 41st.

Bethanie Bailey was the third finisher for the women’s team, completing her first collegiate 6k race in 24:39.99. Courtney Czerniak (24:43.22) and Shannon Millikin (25:14.26) rounded out the top five scorers for Mercer, while Katie-Rose Alligood (25:16.26) and Cheyenne Andrew (25:25.64) closed out the top-7.

Auburn won the women’s title, while Georgia and Furman finished second and third respectively.

Mercer will have a week off, before hosting its own Julius Johnson Invitational on Friday, Sept. 25.

http://mercerbears.com/sports/mxc/2015-16/releases/20150913g0tvoc

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