Mercer University – Southern Conference Championships

The Bears leaving the starting line. Jama is 4th from the left.

Mercer University freshman Ahmed Jama set a personal record for the second straight meet, leading the men’s cross country team at the 86th annual Southern Conference Cross Country Championship on Saturday morning.

Jama finished 20th overall and third among SoCon freshmen to earn a spot on the All-SoCon Freshman Team. The Woodstock, Ga., native eclipsed his personal record by 21 seconds, crossing the line in 25:18.90, a new program record at the SoCon Championship.

The Bears finished ninth in the team standings with a total team score of 223, thanks to a season-best average time of 26:40.85. Furman won the team title for the fourth straight year, while VMI and ETSU rounded out the top three.

Cameron Gatt was the next Bear to cross the finish line, finishing 35th overall with a season-best time of 26:11.21 in his first SoCon Championship. Nicholas Ashmead and Mark Brannen finished 57th and 58th, as both also eclipsed their top marks this season with times of 26:58.11 and 27:01.93 respectively. Aurelien Bourgeon rounded out the scoring as Mercer’s fifth finisher, placing 70th overall with a time of 27:54.07.

Ross Porter placed sixth for Mercer, finishing the 8k course in 28:11.73. Abraham Balawi (28:35.65), Evan Park (28:47.47) and Justin Hanson (28:51.24) wrapped up the Bears’ second trip to the SoCon Championship.

Mercer closes out the 2015 season at the NCAA South Regionals in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Friday, November 13.

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