Islanders Clinch Runner-Up Spots At Rice Invite

HOUSTON – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's and women's cross country teams had a strong night Friday at the 36th Annual Justin F. Cooper Memorial Rice Invitational. The Islanders clinched the runner-up spot in both the men's 5k and the women's 4k on the campus of Rice University. For the second straight race, junior Patrick Kimeli finished as the top individual runner in the men's race. 

"It went very well," said head coach Shawn Flanagan. "It wasn't perfect but we can build on it and it's really encouraging. We did some great things today." 

On the women's side, the Islanders, who are ranked No. 7 in the USTFCCCA Regional Rankings took second place with 45 points, one spot behind host No. 4 Rice, who won with 41 points. The Islanders topped Southland foes No. 11 Lamar (3rd), No. 13 McNeese State (4th) and No. 8 Stephen F. Austin.    

"The women ran a very good team race," Flanagan said. "We put six in front of Rice's four and we were second to them by four points. We will keep building on that." 

Senior Danielle Higgins led the squad with a fourth place finish with time of 14:18. Seniors Julia Sambu, Kristine Burciaga, Sarah Kimaiyo and junior BreAnna Briggs followed, finishing seconds within each other to claim the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th spots, respectively. Sambu crossed the line with a time of 14:27, Burciaga 14:31, Kimaiyo 14:37 and five seconds later Briggs finished with a time of 14:42. Sophomore Cecilia Gonzalez clocked in a time of 14:53 to claim the 19th spot.  

Kimeli led the men's 5k, crossing the line with a time of 16:52, three seconds ahead of second place-finisher Alex Littlewood of McNeese State. Freshman Angel Banda placed 14th with a time of 17:22, while sophomores Justin Adame and Jason Garcia finished 17th and 23rd, respectively. Senior Jeremy Juarez followed eight seconds later behind Garcia with a time of 17:48, to take the 29th spot.       

On the men's side, the Islanders, who are ranked No. 10 in the USTFCCCA Regional Rankings, finished with 67 points, behind No.4 Lamar, who took first with 36 points. The Islanders topped host No. 8 Rice (3) along with Southland opponents No. 7 Stephen F. Austin (4) and No. 6 McNeese State (6).  

"We came in second," Flanagan added. "Lamar got us, but on the positive side, we beat three teams ranked ahead of us. We had a very good outing. I'm very optimistic." 

The Islanders will return home to host the Islander Splash on Fri., Sept. 23 at West Guth Park. The college race will begin at 6 p.m.  

For the latest information, follow Islanders Cross Country on Twitter (@IslandersTFXC) and Facebook (Texas A&M Corpus Christi Track & Field/Cross Country).  

Complete results from the Rice Invitational can be found at: http://flashresults.com/flashtexas/2011/ricexcinv11/  

Women's 4k Run Team Scores:

1. Rice 41

2. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 45

3. Lamar 69

4. McNeese State 89

5. Tulane 120

6. Houston Baptist 146

7. Texas Southern 220  

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Individual Results:

4. Danielle Higgins 14:18

11. Julia Sambu 14:27

12. Kristine Burciaga 14:31

13. Sarah Kimaiyo 14:37

14. BreAnna Briggs 14:42

19. Cecilia Gonzalez 14:53

27. Shelby Polasek 15:07

29. Melissa Jones 15:13

30. Shelby Nichols 15:14

31. Vanessa Galindo 15:18

42. Jasmine Boutte 15:38 

Men's 5k Run Team Scores:

1. Lamar 36

2. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 67

3. Rice 70

4. Stephen F. Austin 111

5. Houston Baptist 133

6. McNeese State 140

7. Tulane 209

8. Prairie View 216

9. Houston 220

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Individual Results:

1. Patrick Kimeli 16:52

14. Angel Banda 17:22

17. Justin Adame 17:32

23. Jason Garcia 17:40

29. Jeremy Juarez 17:48

41. Christoph Hintz 18:10

45. Brandon Lacy 18:16

48. Jacob Abrego 18:21

49. Phillipp Baar 18:25