MONTEVALLO, Ala. — Talk about complete domination. In the second cross country meet of the year, Mississippi State won both the men's and women's events, while also claiming both medalist honors. It's also the second win of the year for the No 24-ranked women.
Shannon Fair, competing for the first time this season, won with a time of 21:31.44 in the 6K, while Aaron Phelps was first in the men's 8K at 26:02.89.
“Obviously with the sweep, I'm very pleased with the outcome, but we also did a lot of the little things I was looking for, and we ran as a team,” MSU coach Houston Franks said. “It was a good day, and I thought we improved from the first meet. For Shannon, she came out strong and found her pace. Aaron also had been training extremely well, and it paid off for him (Saturday). Overall, it was a solid day for us.”
In all, the women placed six in the Top 10, while claiming the top three positions.
Stephanie Peterson finished second for the secondstraight week at 21:55.08, while Kristy Perp was third at 22:29.52.
At sixth was Katherine Badham (23:03.64), followed by Audrey Honiotes (23.11.48) and Emma Tucker (23:16.43) at seventh and eighth, respectively.
Likewise, the men were just as dominate with five turning in Top 10 performances.
Behind Phelps was Stephen Jones (26:12.46) at second. John Dalton Rohr ran 26:43.11 to place fifth, while Luke Zacharias and JT Mackay finished seventh and eighth at 26:48.56 and 26:54.03, respectively.
“Our young guys stepped up and maybe even exceeded my expectations,” Franks said.
MSU is back in action two weeks at the Paul Short Invitational in Allentown, Pa.
In the final tune-up before Southeastern Conference play, Mississippi State finished the Maroon Classic Saturday afternoon with a sweep against Southeastern Louisiana.
Heading into conference play Friday against South Carolina, the Bulldogs stand at 9-6 after dominating the Lady Lions 25-22,25-18, 25-16.
“Our mantra is to get better every day in the gym and start hitting on all cylinders,” MSU third-year coach David McFatrich said. “Every player on this team has done great things. What we must do now is do it in the same set and the same match. Now we're entering league play and it's about to get tougher. We have improved a lot, but now I will be looking for continual improvement.”
A collaborative team effort went into this victory. Set one featured a back-and-forth competition as the two stayed within three points the entire set. Senior Jelena Vujcin's service ace gave the Bulldogs the point it needed to win 2522. The Serbian standout also had seven kills and 7.0 points during the set.
Sets two and three were similar in nature, as MSU found its groove and capitalized on Southeastern Louisiana's mistakes. Vujcin and Laura Rose Gray led the team in kills during the second set, helping propel the Bulldogs against the Lady Lions 24-18.
Set three was dominating for MSU. Khristian Carr produced four kills and 5.5 points. A service ace from Payton Harris ended the game as the Bulldogs won 25-16.
On Friday, MSU welcomes South Carolina to Starkville to kick off the first weekend of SEC conference play. First serve is set for 7 p.m.