Spartans Honored at Cross Country Champion’s Dinner

Spartans Honored at Cross Country Champion’s Dinner

Contact: Katie Parker, 

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's cross country team was honored Tuesday evening at a dinner hosted by University Chancellor Dr. Thomas Moore for winning the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship last fall.

This was the second Chancellor's Cross Country Champion's Dinner as the Spartans claimed back-to-back A-Sun titles in 2011 and 2012. The defending champs picked-up their second consecutive team crown Oct. 27, 2012 as senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) won his third-straight individual title at the 2012 A-Sun Championships hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University. 

Upstate brought home its second-straight conference trophy, edging ETSU by four points. With five runners in the top 20, the Spartans beat the Buccaneers 49 points to 53 points. The dinner Tuesday night was an opportunity for the Chancellor to recognize the team's accomplishment, while the athletes received their individual A-Sun Championship rings. 

With his third consecutive individual title, Kemboi became the third athlete in conference history to win three A-Sun individual cross country championships. He grabbed first-place with a time of 24:16.7, well ahead of the second-place Nabil Hamid from KSU with a time of 24:43.8.

The Spartans landed four athletes on the All-Atlantic Sun First and Second Teams. Kemboi was named the 2012 A-Sun Runner of the Year and collected First Team All-Conference honors, while senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.), senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) and junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) were All-Conference Second Team selections. Upstate Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder picked-up his second-straight A-Sun Coach of the Year honor.

However, the top four Upstate finishers couldn't win the A-Sun crown alone as the championship-winning team consisted of nine members. Senior Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) sneaked into the top 20 for the Spartans, coming in 19th. Sophomore Mark Rennix (Beaufort, S.C.), junior Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya), junior Joey Daversa (Chesapeake, Va.) and senior Dylan Taylor (Woodruff, S.C.) all helped comprise the nine-member championship team.

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