Different terrain, same result for Coastal runner Saayman

ccuxc-saaymanLetitia Saayman won her third race of the season and led three Coastal Carolina women in the top 10 at the Blue Ridge Cross Country Invitational Friday afternoon on the campus of Appalachian State.

Saayman clocked a time of 18:03.41 to win the 5K race by more than 11 seconds over Appalachian State’s Tristin Van Ord. The individual victory is the sixth of her career and the third in her four meets of this campaign. In the three wins, she has won on the flat Lowcountry course of CCU, the hilly Piedmont area of Charlotte, and now the mountain course in Boone, NC.

Teammates Kyla van Graan and Aynslee van Graan also notched top-10 finishes in the 98-runner field. Kyla placed eighth in a time of 18:49.77, with sister Aynslee right behind her in ninth with a time of 18:50.61. The top-10 placements are the fifth in as many races this season for Kyla and the fourth for Aynslee.

The trio led the Chanticleers to a third-place finish in the meet’s team competition out of 10 schools. Coastal totaled 88 points, trailing only the host Mountaineers (34) and second-place Wake Forest (44). Fellow Big South member High Point finished fourth with 114 points.

Rachel Byrd finished fourth among Coastal runners and 53rd overall with a time of 20:44.96, while LaChelsie Thomas placed 57th in 20:55.56, just ahead of two other teammates.

The Coastal men’s team, meanwhile, competed in a 6400-meter race and was led by Evan Niciphor. The senior notched a time of 21:15.93 and finished 33rd overall. Joseph Keitt was next among the Chants, in 42nd overall with a time of 21:27.13. Daniel Riff took 59th in 22:14.04, followed by Zach Hensel (71st in 23:09.03) and Tyler Cummings (79th in 24:08.72). The Chanticleers placed seventh as a team.

Coastal will next compete in the Big South Championships on Saturday, Nov. 1 on the campus of Gardner-Webb. The Chanticleer women are the defending conference champions.

Photo courtesy of BSC

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