NEW ORLEANS, La. - The King College men's cross country team did not move from the No. 3 ranking in the newest edition of the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division II Southeast Region rankings, announced by the national organization Tuesday.
This was the third straight week at No. 3 for King in the region. The Tornado was No. 5 the three weeks before the climb to No. 3. The rankings does not have any effect on the automatic qualifiers to the NCAA Division II National Championship, but the Top-3 team finishers from the NCAA Southeast Region on Nov. 20 earns tickets to the NCAA Division II National Championship on Dec. 4.
The entire southeast region stayed put from No. 1 to No. 10 as no changes happened in any of the eight regions.
Queens (N.C.) University of Charlotte was at No. 1, Columbus State (Ga.) University held the No. 2 spot. Behind King were Mount Olive (N.C.) College and Mars Hill (N.C.) College fourth and fifth.
The next five started with UNC Pembroke. Clayton State (Ga.) University and Lees McRae (N.C.) College, Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) University and Georgia College and State University were placed from No. 7 to No. 10, respectively.
The Peach Belt Conference had four members in the Top-10, Columbus State, UNC Pembroke, Clayton State and Georgia College. Conference Carolinas had Queens, Mount Olive and Lees-McRae in the Top-10. The only two teams from the South Atlantic Conference were Mars Hill and Lenoir-Rhyne. King remained the only independent team in any of the eight regions nationally.
The Tornado squad was able to see the course that the Southeast Region will be contested on at the Royal Cross Country Challenge on Oct. 15. King was ninth in the team standings as the team had five runners break the 27-minute mark. The Tornado's average time for the Top-5 runners was 26 minutes and 12.6 seconds. In addition the school record was lowered for a second straight event.
Nassem Haje (Hagerstown, Md.) ran the event in 25:45.1, 10 seconds faster than his previous school record. Spencer Franton (Morristown, Tenn.) became just the second Tornado runner in program history to break the 26-minute mark with his 25:47.0 run. His time was a personal best by 34 seconds for the freshman. Daniel Hamilton (Franklin, N.C.) lowered his season best by 14 seconds and his personal best by 10 seconds as he finished at the 26:13.5 mark. Justin Humphreys (Bristol, Tenn.) ran the event 26:30.1 while Taylor Dix (Memphis, Tenn.) crossed the finish line in 26:48.2.
The next event for the Tornado squad will be the Cavalier Invitational in Charlottesville, Va. on Friday. The 8,000 meter race will be ran on the Panorama Farms Cross Country Course which was the site of the 2006 and 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.
The next regional ranking will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 9.