CLINTON, Miss. – The West Florida men’s cross country team is looking to reach new heights in 2011, and the Argonauts got off on the right foot with a team win at the MC Season Opener hosted by Mississippi College on Thursday evening. Junior Martinique Sykes (Orange Park, Fla./Orange Park HS) placed second to lead UWF’s top finishers, which included six of the top 10.
“Our veterans all ran very well,” explained head coach John Bergen, “but the great thing today was that the four freshmen ran right with the veterans. Halfway through the race we had a big pack running at the front, and watching a sea of blue coming around the corner was a great thing to see.”
Sykes finished 16 seconds behind Darwin Price of Grambling, who won the 5k event with a time of 15:48.61. Sykes crossed the line at 16:04.61, followed closely by UWF teammate and freshman Chris Roach (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Nease HS) at 16:06.37. The next two finishers were UWF veterans Dominique Sykes (16:16.44) (Orange Park, Fla./Orange Park HS) and Eddie Pagan (16:22.77) (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Two more freshmen pushed to the end to give the Argonauts six in the top 10. Cody Haden (Navarre, Fla./Navarre HS) finished in seventh place at 16:46.72, and Brandon Skeie (West Creek, N.J./Southern Regional HS) followed in 10th place at 16:58.25. Fellow freshman Roman Kowalski (Pensacola, Fla./Catholic HS) clinched the win for UWF, crossing the line at 17:09.49 and finishing 13th.
The Argonauts had three additional runners finish in the season’s first meet, and each finished in the top 20; Tyler Bowman (Pensacola, Fla./West Florida HS), Titus Cheruiyot (Eldoret, Kenya/Tenwek HS) and Jared Black (Tallahassee, Fla./Leon HS) placed 14th, 15th and 17th, respectively.
The Argonauts will next compete at the Fleet Feet Invitational hosted by Gulf South Conference rival Alabama-Huntsville on Sep. 10. The race will be the first 8k of the season for the UWF men’s team. For information on all UWF Athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com.