Cross-country seasons get off to hot start at Nicholls


Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

Tulane’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams both began their seasons with first-place team finishes and individual wins at the Nicholls Cross-Country Invitational last weekend in Thibodaux, Louisiana. This exciting start is just the first of three more invitationals scheduled within the next few weeks and is hopefully indicative of a historic season to come for the Green Wave. Looking ahead, it seems that both teams are in incredible positions to achieve success in the upcoming seasons.

Despite losing one of its best runners with the graduation of All-American Athletic Conference team member and LSWA runner of the year Moses Aloiloi, the Green Wave men have a lot to look forward to this season. The most obvious player to observe is senior Emmanuel Rotich, who was the 2017 AAC Runner of the Year.

Last season, Rotich placed first in the American Championships 8K as well as the NCAA South Central Regionals 10K. The senior from Kenya ended the season strongly with a 191st place finish in the NCAA Division 1 Championships 10K in December, with a time of 31:30.5. Though Rotich did not participate in the invitational last weekend, fans can expect some more impressive performances in the upcoming weeks during the 8Ks at the Texas A&M and Pre-National Invitationals.

Junior Carlos Servigon has already made strides for the Green Wave this season, as the Louisiana native was the first place individual winner at the Nicholls Invitational with a 21:11.55 6K. Tulane’s other four runners placed in the top 13 as well, including NCAA All-South Regional Team members Joshua Cheroyut and Patrick Dougherty, returning seniors and sophomores, respectively.  

While the men’s team had a successful weekend, the Green Wave women’s cross-country team had an arguably more impressive performance at its 4K. Tulane defeated Nicholls State by 16 points. It was also a junior who stole the spotlight for the women, as Mckenzie Melius was the first place individual winner with a time of 15:42.04. Nicholls State’s performance did not compare, as it finished the race a full minute behind the Green Wave.

Though the women’s team lost four seniors this season, including Lauren Bartels, the fifth-place finisher in the 2018 AAC Championship, the team currently enjoys a roster of nine promising runners. Seven participated in the Nicholls State Invitational, and each of them finished in the top 15, including Freshmen Nicole Phaneuf and Oneke Gwan.

Next Saturday, both of Tulane’s cross-country teams will participate in their second invitational at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The Green Wave will then participate in its final two invitationals in College Station, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin before the AAC Championships take place in New Orleans on Oct. 25.

With any luck, the teams will maintain the momentum from their incredible wins this past weekend, and Tulane fans can continue to enjoy an exciting season.

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