SPORTS & ACTIVITIES
CLUBS & ACTIVITIES
Milligan women's cross country claims ninth straight AAC title
November 6, 2011By Lisa Gosnell of David Crockett High School
11/5/2011 6:20:00 PM
Dayton, Tenn. (Nov. 5, 2011) --- Gillian Giffen (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Austin Ellis (Charlottesville, Va.) ran to AAC Runner of the year awards as the Milligan women's team won their ninth consecutive AAC title on Saturday morning in Dayton, Tenn. The Milligan men went toe-to-toe with the No. 13 Bryan squad on their home course, but came up just shy of knocking them off for the conference crown.
The women's squad defended their AAC successfully with one of the season's fastest races across the board as the Buffaloes captured three of the top five positions. Giffen crossed the line to earn her fourth straight conference runner of the year award with a time of 18:09, nearly 30 seconds off of her season best mark. Catie McMahon (Lanoka Harbor, N.J.) finished third with as she narrowly missed her season best with a time of 19:19. Former Dobyns-Bennett standout Lauren Hubbard (Kingsport, Tenn.) followed McMahon across the line with a mark of 19:24.
Freshman Christine McMahon (Lanoka Harbor, N.J) narrowly missed the top five in her conference championship debut as she finished sixth with a time of 19:52. Cassie St. John (Jonesborough, Tenn.) rounded out the Buffaloes squad with a time of with a personal best of 20:04 to finish in eighth. Heather Exline (Glouster, Ohio) and Janey Robinson (Elizabethton, Tenn.) rounded out the top seven for Milligan, and sophomore Shannon Wilson (Kissimmee, Fla.) was the ninth Buffalo to cross the line with a new personal best of 20:36.
As a team, the Buffaloes earned a berth to the 2011 NAIA Cross Country Nationals in Vancouver, Wash., with a nearly flawless 22 point effort. Bryan finished in second with a total of 55 points.
On the men's side, Ellis continued to dominate the conference meet as he earned his fourth runner of the year award with a time of 25:08, an improvement of three seconds on his season best. Nathan Meeuwenberg (Hudsonville, Mich.) finished in fourth with a mark of 25:48, while Matt Murphy (Greeneville, Tenn.) rounded out the top five with a time of 25:59.
Brendan Hawkins (Limestone, Tenn.) scored a top 10 finish with a time of 27:02. Dwayne Jordan (Kissimmee, Fla.) rounded out the Milligan five with a time of 27:50 as he crossed the line in 13th.
As a team, the Buffaloes nearly ended Bryan's reign at the top, but fell six points short. Ellis, Meeuwenberg, Murphy and Hawkins all punched tickets to the national championships as individuals, but the men's team must wait to see if they can clinch an at-large bid.
The Milligan women and the four male individuals will compete at the 2011 NAIA Cross Country National Championships in Vancouver, Wash., on Saturday, Nov. 19.