Sports briefs

Jaggers finishes eighth in Arkansas

Western’s cross country team got a chance to face some of its conference rivals last Saturday.

Both the men’s and women’s teams traveled to Arkansas-Little Rock to see the defending Sun Belt Conference champions and conference rival North Texas. The Arkansas Tech women’s team also competed.

Freshman Nicole Jaggers led the women with an eighth place finish. The women’s team also knocked off the defending SBC champions despite losing the services of top runners senior Bonita Paul and junior Cara Nichols to flu-like symptoms.

When twin brothers Dmitry and Andrey Shokur from UALR took the first two spots, the Hilltoppers responded by taking the next four.

Juniors David Altmaier and Daniel Roberts finished third and fourth respectively. Sophomore Kevin Dick was fifth and senior Enda Grandfield took sixth.

“We had a pretty tough meet last week so we’re all pretty tired,” Altmaier said, referring to the Old Timers Classic. “We feel we could have run a lot better, but we’re all making improvements so we’re happy.”

– Josh Buckman

Marcus signs with Nuggets

After suffering setbacks to his basketball career for the past two years, Chris Marcus finally got a break.

The Denver Post reported in Thursday’s edition that the former Western center signed a one-year guaranteed contract worth $366,931, the rookie minimum, to play for the Denver Nuggets.

Foot injuries and two surgeries to repair a stress fracture limited Marcus to just 19 games during his last two seasons at Western.

When he was healthy Marcus averaged 16.7 points and 12.1 rebounds per game in his sophomore season as a Topper. After that season, he was considered a first round selection in the NBA draft.

The 7-foot-1-inch center impressed the Nuggets by dropping his weight from 355 pounds to 318 pounds in late June. But he is trying to lose more weight so he won’t start the season on the injured list.

– Keith Farner