PRINCESS ANNE, MD – The University of the District of Columbia women's cross country team competed in the Cappy Anderson 5K Invitational on Saturday, September 19th on a warm, partly-cloudy morning at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Cross Country Course.
The Firebirds competed among seven Division I schools including top-finisher Navy and 2nd place finisher and host UMES. They bested the only other Division II competitor, Bowie State, and placed 8th of 9 teams with a team score of 214.
The top finisher for UDC was junior Kay-Tiarra Johnson (Psychology – Hempstead, NY/Hempstead HS), who improved 49 seconds from her team-best time on this course two weeks ago with a finishing time of 22:17.56. She placed 45th overall.
Next in for the Firebds was graduate Jerily Benjamin (Health Education – Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS) at 59th overall with a time of 24:31.55 – a 46-second improvement on her time at this course two weeks ago.
Also finishing with qualifying point totals for UDC were freshman Rachel German, sophomores Shayna Hodge and Geordinell Thurston, junior Brittany Okon and senior Marlena Wright. Sophomore Stacy-Ann Rowe and freshman Jasmine Walker also completed the 5K course as well.
Head coach Alton McKenzie said he felt the entire team's effort the 3rd week into the season was good, but thought he needed to single out Johnson, who had her best showing since last year.
"[Kay-Tiarra] was very competitive and went out more aggressive than she has in the past two meets," McKenzie said. "Her effort is a reflection of how we need to compete as a group. The rest of the team needs to apply that same approach, regardless of time."
The Firebirds have next week off before traveling to Smyrna, DE for the Delaware State Farm Run Invitational on Friday, October 2nd.