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XC Team's Earn Top-Seven Finish; Mattingly Garners All-OVC Honors

MSU Athletics

The Morehead State Men's and Women's Cross Country teams earned top-seven finishes in the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Championships on a brisk Saturday morning at SIUE's Cross Country Campus Course.

The men finished the day with a fifth-place finish. Senior Jarrett Mattingly paced the Eagles with an eighth-place finish after he crossed the finish line with a time of 25:22.3 in the 8K (4.97 miles) championship event. The New Haven, Ky., native finished 47.3 seconds behind first-place medalist Ezekiel Kibichii from Eastern Kentucky

With the eighth-place finish, Mattingly earned Second-Team All-OVC honors. The senior's performance gave Mattingly the Eagles' first All-OVC runner since Justin Moakler (First Team), Aaron Wier (Second Team), and Farah Abdulkarim (Second Team) were recognized by the conference after the 2017 OVC Championship meet.

"Jarrett has been a consistent leader for our team," said Morehead State interim head coach Clay Dixon. "For him to finish in the top ten and earn All-OVC honors it's just a testament to the way he has worked to get better since last season. Jarrett ran up front in a very competitive field today and did a great job of representing our program."

Three MSU men runners earned top-50 finishes to help their squad claim the fifth-place finish in the field which was made up of 103 student-athletes. Freshman Garrett Watts finished 28th with a time of 25:52.5, junior Cody Chism ran a time of 26:08.2 to earn 34th place, and freshman Kyle Embry rounded out the trio with a finished tied for 37th after finishing with a time of 26:19.6.

"I was very pleased with how our men ran today," said Eagles' interim head coach Clay Dixon. "For us to be as young as we are and have lost some really solid guys to graduation I couldn't be prouder. We have focused on consistent improvement with our young team and I think today that mentality showed as we finished in the top-half of team's in a strong field."

On the women's side, four runners ran top-50 times in the 5K championship event to help the Eagles to a seventh-place team finish.

Senior Shelby Watkins finished 24th with a season-best time of 18:50.6 to lead Morehead State. For the Carlisle, Ky., native, it marks her second consecutive top-25 finish at the OVC Championships.

Senior Alison Chinn and junior Olivia Chapman earned 36th and 37th place with times of 19:09.0 and 19:13.4. Junior Maggie Kiper turned in a time of 19:19.1 to round out the women's top-50 runners with a 41st place finish.

"The women had a good showing in what was a strong pack running up front in their field." said Dixon. "I thought they all ran well and with their best effort which is all you can ask as a coach. Like the men, our women work to consistently improve from event-to-event. While it may not be as high of a finish last year, the ladies are working hard and the program is moving in the right direction."

Similar to the men's side men's side, Eastern Kentucky claimed the top individual finish as Violah Sermont crossed the finish line first with a time of 17:31.1.

Overall, EKU claimed the the top-team finishes in both men's and women's.

Both Morehead State's men and women will wrap up their 2019 season at the NCAA Southeast Region Championships on Nov. 15. The event is set to be hosted by Virginia at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, Va.

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