VMI Men Place Ninth at Furman Invitational

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Sophomore Anthony Harris and freshman Donnie Mikels paced the Keydets, as the VMI cross country squad took home a ninth place finish out of 26 teams in the Furman Invitational Saturday afternoon.

Harris' 26:55 over the 5k course was the Keydets' fastest and placed him 30th overall. Mikels ran a 27:06, placing him 36th in the race. Other men's finishers included Graham Forbes (27:36-60th), Edwin Lugo (27:38-63rd), Matt Bierlein (27:53-73rd), Shawn Hogan (28:05-83rd), Kurt Able (28:12-87th) and Nick Mazzenga (28:27-106th).

The Keydets now stand at 32-15 on the season after defeating a few rivals this weekend. VMI defeated Winthrop, rated sixth in the Big South's preseason poll, by a 226-344 score and The Citadel by 179 points (226-405).

"I was very pleased with our performance," said VMI cross country coach Paul Spangler. "The guys did a good job today. Anthony Harris and Donnie Mikels did a great job up front for us and Matt Bierlein and Kurt Able came through for us when we needed it. A couple of guys were off their game today, but they made the best of an off day and gutted it out despite the hot and humid conditions. Our focus today was finishing ahead of Winthrop, East Tennessee State, Citadel, Davidson and Western Carolina. We beat three of those five with Western Carolina and Davidson finishing just in front of us in seventh and eighth (respectively)."

Competing in her second collegiate race on the women's side, Ania Najda ran a 19:56 on the 5k course. That placed her 46th overall in the race.

Both the men's and women's cross country teams return to action Friday afternoon, when they compete in the Appalachian State Invitational.