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Sept. 6, 1997

Texas Tech Women's Cross Country Team Earns First Place

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech women's cross country team claimed first place with 15 points at the Red Raider Invitational held this morning at Mae Simmons Park. South Plains College took the men's race with 24 points. The meet was the first of the 1997 season for the Red Raiders.

Sophomore Leigh Daniel (Lubbock, Texas) was the first to cross the line in the women's 5K with a time of 19 minutes 9 seconds. Daniel knocked nearly one minute off of her time from last year's invitational, where she finished second in 20:04. Daniel was the Red Raider's only qualifier for the 1996 NCAA National Championships. In the women's race, Texas Tech took seven of the top 10 places, with Daniel, Kristen Koppes (Redding, Calif.) and Tara Hangge (Richland, Wash.) coming in one, two and three. South Plains College finished second in the team scoring, with Eastern New Mexico taking third. Wayland Baptist University, West Texas A&M and Dallas Baptist also competed, but were left out of the team scoring because they did not have enough entrants to fill up the scoring spots. "On the women's side, we're really excited about the start," said head coach Greg Sholars, who saw his first meet as head of the program. "We had girls run a minute faster than they did at this time last year, which is a big improvement for us overall as a team." The men's 8K race was led by South Plains College, who had the top three finishers. Michael Sang took first place in the race with a time of 26:09. West Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Dallas Baptist rounded out the second through fourth team spots. Eastern New Mexico and Wayland Baptist also had runners compete.

For Texas Tech, freshman Scott Rackers (Plano, Texas) led the pack in his first meet as a Red Raider. Rackers finished sixth with a time of 28:58. The team was hampered by the absence of three of it's top runners, including Michael Kariuki, Samson Ngetich and Jessie Williams. "We were short-handed on the men's side because we did not have all of our guys ready to go at this point," said Sholars. "The ones that were out here were very aggressive in the competition."

"I think we got a little bit of a measuring stick and we have a good idea of what we need to do between now and our first big invitational at SMU."

The next meet for the Red Raiders is Saturday, September 20 when the team travels to Dallas for the SMU Invitational.

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