Fayetteville State University wins its first-ever CIAA Women's Cross-Country Championship.

Oct. 26, 2017

Complete Results

Salem, VA - Director of Athletics Anthony Bennett wanted the FSU's women's athletic programs to make an impact in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the region. A little over two months ago, Inez Turner was hired to take over cross-country and develop a women's indoor and outdoor track & field program.

Institutional history was made today as Fayetteville State University captured its first CIAA Women's Cross-Country Championships.

"Isn't this awesome!" said Head Coach Inez Turner. "I told the girls from day one that they are going to be the team to beat. Two months in this and taking athletes from scratch, athletes who have never run cross country before, and here we are winning the CIAA Championships. It's just truly a blessing."

Freshman Aleena Cruz (Knighdale, NC) finished second overall in a season-best 5-kilometer time of 19:38.8. The individual runner-up was also named the 2017 CIAA Cross-Country Female Athlete of the Year. Cruz finished 1.8 seconds behind the champion, Imani Travis of Winston-Salem State, who finished in 19:37.7.

"Honestly, this means everything," said Cruz.  "One, because I didn't that there was an award. It's really nice to hear my name and know that my hard work paid off this season.

"Though I didn't win, it was the best finish that I've ever had, because I gave it my all. The last 100 meters was the toughest part, and I fell out at the end. It was the toughest part but it was the best part because it showed that I put everything in and I can't walk away saying it was an easy race because I gave it my all."



Turner's efforts in building a championship team in two months were recognized by the conference as she was named the CIAA Women's Cross-Country Coach of the Year. Her tenth overall honor while coaching within the conference.

"The first nine [Coach of the Year Awards] was great, but this one is sweet!" said Coach Turner. "This means a whole lot for me. It is not only for me, I feel good for the athletes. I love it for our athletes that we are building."

All-CIAA Honors was handed to the top 15 finishers. Joining Cruz on the All-CIAA team is fourth place finisher Destiny Stevons (Freshman - Durham, NC) who also turned in a season-best 20:29.3. Not far behind her was fellow freshman Carisha Leonard (Rocky Mount, NC) who finished sixth in 20:43.1, another season's best.  Sophomore Morgan Gaither (Merrit Island, FL) was a few seconds behind Leonard, crossing the line in seventh with a time of 20:46.1.

Taniya Petty (Freshman - Greensboro, NC) missed all-conference honors by seven seconds but her 16th place was vital for the Broncos winning score of 35 points. She finished in a time of 21:55.3.

Winston-Salem State University finished second with 62 points. The Rams' runners finished 1st, 3rd, 9th, 23rd, and 26th. Saint Augustine's was third with 75 points.

Richard Prudente-Bernal (Junior - Fayetteville, NC) received All-CIAA Honors with his ninth-place finish in the 8-kilometer championships. His 29:40.6 season-best time helped the Fayetteville State University's men team rank tenth overall. Jaylaan Poe (Laurinburg, NC) finished 33rd overall in 31:42.4. Collin Nordan (Albemarle, NC) scored 63 points with his time of 36:06.3.

Virginia State won the meet with 39 points followed by Virginia Union (84) and Saint Augustine's (103). FSU finished with 243 points, above Winston-Salem State (254) and Johnson C. Smith (353).


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