Oct. 31, 2011
HOUSTON (SMU) – The SMU cross country team brought home the gold medal at the Conference USA Championships hosted by Rice Monday morning. The Mustangs scored a total of 57 points, edging out Tulsa, the defending C-USA Champions, by a mere two points. This was the second closest conference meet in league history.
Silje Fjortoft set a new conference record to take first place finishing the 5K race with a time of 16:06.8. In her fifth consecutive gold-medal finish, she defeated the two-time defending champion, Risper Kimaiyo from UTEP, by an astounding eight seconds.
“Silje’s race was one of the most impressive races I have ever seen her run” said cross country coach Cathy Casey, who was named the C-USA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year. “Her and Kimaiyo ran side by side through the 4K mark. It was very exciting.”
Along with Fjortoft, Kristine Eikrem-Engeset had a top-ten finish (7th), crossing the line with a time of 17:22.2. Both runners were named to the All-Conference First Team. Fjortoft was also named the conference’s Outstanding Senior.
Mary Alenbratt (12th) and Monika Korra (14th) clocked in at 17:37.7 and 17:49.0, respectively, contributing to the Ponies’ first-place finish. Both received All-Conference Second Team honors.
Freshman Kajsa Barr finished 23rd out of 92 runners with a time of 18:06.9. Senior Aasha Marietta (33rd) and sophomore Caitlin Keen (44th) also finished in the top half of the competition.
“Coming in, we knew this would be a tough competition. It really took a special effort from every girl. They never stopped believing they could win the entire race. I am so proud of all of them,” Coach Casey said.
The Mustangs will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 12, to compete in the NCAA South Central Regional Championships in Waco, Texas.