CROSS COUNTRY: Paul breaks personal best

Josh Buckman

Bonita Paul spiced up the course at Arkansas’ annual Chile Pepper Invitational.

In her final regular season race, the senior set a new personal best in a six-kilometer race and left the old Sun Belt Conference season best out in the cold.

Her time of 21 minutes, 9.21 seconds was good for sixth, 21.79 seconds behind first place finisher Marlies Overbeeke of Virginia Tech. Paul’s time was about 37 seconds faster than the previous SBC season best.

“This was an outstanding meet,” coach Curtiss Long said. “She was simply outstanding.”

Other members of the team also shined. Junior Cara Nichols, trying to regain her form after battling the flu, edged out Stephen F. Austin’s Jessica Partin for 74th place. Nichols’ time of 22:50.08 was just .26 seconds faster than Partin’s.

Freshman Nicole Jaggers also had a good day, finishing 115th. Her time of 23:26.58 set a new personal best.

But not all news was good news for the Lady Toppers. After getting off to a strong start, junior Cheyenne Carmack suffered an asthma attack that kept her from finishing the race.

“If they’re not winning the race, they’re keeping pace,” Long said. “The race was very fast, and it was the competition, not the course, that made it that way.”

Overall the Lady Toppers finished 17th of 37 teams, tabulating a score of 488 points.

In the men’s race, the Hilltoppers had a large deficit to overcome.

Senior lead runner Enda Grandfield was sidelined because of bruised ribs and seasonal allergies, which have bothered him for most of the season.

Junior David Altmaier continued to improve after missing all of last season with a stress fracture in his right leg. His time of 31:21.48 was a personal best in a 10-kilometer race as he finished 58th out of 263.

Junior Daniel Roberts was Western’s second highest finisher as he placed 73rd in 31:47.53 seconds.

The team accumulated 577 points to finish 25th out of 33 schools.

Reach Josh Buckman at [email protected]