Hounds 2nd, Zias 4th in LSC cross country

CNJ staff

ABILENE, Texas — Eastern New Mexico University’s cross country teams recorded the highest finishes in the programs history in Saturday’s Lone Star Conference meet, hosted by Abilene Christian.

Junior Mohammed Noor finished second individually in a time of 24 minutes, 28.86 seconds over eight kilometers, leading the ENMU men to second place as a team. The Greyhounds finished with 68 team points to 54 for Abilene Christian, which won its 20th consecutive LSC men’s team crown.

Noor’s time was a school record and the first sub-25 minute 8K mark in ENMU history.

Junior Nicky Reid was fourth in the 4.5K women’s race, posting a time of 16:32.72, as ENMU claimed fourth place with 132 points. Midwestern State took team honors with 46 points.

The Hounds’ best previous finish was third last season, while the Zias had previously placed fifth in 2003 and 2006. The women’s race was scheduled for 6K, but was shortened after runners were given a wrong turn during the competition.

Sophomore Jacob Lozano and senior Richard Kogo supported Noor for the Hounds, finishing 12th in 25:27.67 and 13th in 25:30.98, respectively. Freshman Adrienne Montoya was 11th for the Zias, coming in at 17:03.89.

Individual winners were ACU senior Amos Sang, who repeated his men’s title from last year with a time of 23:49.50, and Abilene Christian’s Anais Belledant with a time of 16:07.74.

Noor and Reid are the first ENMU runners to notch all-conference honors (top 10 in the league meet) since Nimrod Lelei turned the trick for the men in 2006. The last Zias runner to earn a top-10 finish was Karissa Huskey during the 2003 season.

Volleyball — Also at Abilene, Jordan Schilling converted back-to-back kills to give 20th-ranked Abilene Christian the fifth game in a 22-25, 25-19, 25-11, 19-25, 16-14 Lone Star Conference volleyball win over Eastern New Mexico University in the regular season finale for both teams.

ACU (25-4, 13-1 LSC), which lost a battle of LSC unbeatens for the conference lead to West Texas A&M on Thursday night, earned the No. 2 seed in the LSC tournament beginning Thursday in Canyon, Texas. But it didn’t come without a struggle.

Meantime, the Zias (13-16, 4-10) came up just short in a bid for their first win over the Wildcats since a 3-1 verdict in Portales on Oct. 21, 2004.

Schilling finished with 14 kills and 16 digs for the Wildcats, while Kalynne Allen and Shawna Hines each had 15 kills. Allen added 24 digs.

For the Zias, sophomore outside hitter Amber Durand had 16 kills and 17 digs while junior middle blockers Kristen Beck and Jessica King each had 13 kills.

Beck also had a double-double with 12 digs, as did senior setter Veronica Valdez-Kent (20 digs, 47 assists). Sophomore libero Dallas Russell collected 23 digs.

ENMU broke three early ties, the last at 4-4, and never trailed in the first set, closing it out on a kill by Beck. But ACU scored the first six points in Game 2 and never trailed, finishing on a 7-2 run after Durand’s kill pulled the Zias to 18-17.

The Wildcats broke open a 7-4 game to win going away in the third set. ENMU overcame an early 7-4 deficit in the fourth set, taking the lead for good 17-16 on Schilling’s service error.

Durand and sophomore Megan Carpenter combined for a double-block on Schilling on set point.

In the fifth set, the Wildcats opened a 7-2 lead before the Zias scored six of the next seven points to pull even. The set was tied at 11-11 on a Carpenter kill and 14-14 on a Beck putaway before Schilling converted the final two points.