Clayton State's Mutiso qualifies for NCAA Cross Country nationals

From Staff Reports

Despite running some of his best career times this season, Clayton State head coach Mike Mead figured the challenge would be greater for the Lakers' Fidelis Mutiso to qualify for the NCAA Division II Men's Cross Country National Championships. However, Mutiso proved his coach wrong on Saturday.

Competing in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional, Mutiso finished a strong eighth place overall in the 10K event in a time of 31:14.3. The finish was good enough to qualify the senior from Nairobi, Kenya in the NCAA Division II National Championships as an individual for a second straight season. Mutiso will compete in the national championships in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 4.

From a team perspective, Clayton State finished 10th overall in the 25-team field with 242 points. The Lakers, who have battled injuries for much of the last half of the season, finished 13 points ahead of Anderson and 14 points behind Peach Belt Conference rival Georgia College. Host Queens won the event with 30 points, ahead of Columbus State (79) and Mars Hill (118).

In addition to Mutiso, junior Albert Mong'ony finished 15th overall in 32:17.7 for Clayton State, earning him All-Southeast Region honors in the process. Freshman Charles Anderson placed 58th overall in 34:12.2, while senior Jarrid Casimir placed 70th in 34:37.9. Rounding out the Laker scoring was sophomore Ricky Fort finishing 96th in 36:01.1, followed by junior Cesar Valdovino in 123rd in 37:23.1.

Lady Lakers take seventh at Regionals

Heading into Saturday's NCAA Division II Southeast Regionals for women's cross country, Clayton State head coach Mike Mead had a strong feeling his Laker women would improve on their ninth-place finish from last season.

Improve the Lakers did.

Clayton State accumulated 258 points on Saturday in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regionals at McAlpine Park. That was good enough for a seventh-place finish for the Lakers in the 28-team 6K event. Clayton State finished 18 points ahead of Peach Belt Conference rivals Georgia College and UNC Pembroke and 11 points off the pace of Lenoir-Rhyne.

Host Queens was the regional champion with 40 points, finishing 91 points ahead of King. The top two finishing teams in the regional qualify for the NCAA Division II National Championships in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 4.

Junior Kourtney Aylor had the best finish for Clayton State as she placed 22nd overall with a time of 23:35.5. Senior Chelsea Ellis concluded her Laker career finishing 38th overall in 24:09.6, while sophomore Paige Galvin placed 48th in a time of 24:29.3 and sophomore Monique Belmudes finished 61st in 24:47.1.

Rounding out the Clayton State scoring was junior Tamara Marshall (90th - 25:40.9), sophomore Rene Mares (105th - 26:00.9) and junior Masiah Hutchinson (119th - 26:15.9).