Sept. 21, 2013
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech's Paul Sakit won an individual crown Saturday as Louisiana Tech hosted the Mook 5 Invitational to open the 2013 season.
The Mook 5 Invitational was scheduled to be held Saturday morning at Lincoln Parrish Park. However, torrential downpours forced Louisiana Tech to change venues early Saturday morning. The race was moved to the Jim Maize Track and Field Complex, where Coach Gary Stanley had an hour to set up the 5K race.
"Obviously the footing was bad," Stanley said. "We had to change gears a little bit and just try to make it through and stay healthy. We are coming up on three weeks of racing and the most important thing was to emerge from here without getting hurt. I was very pleased with that. We had a great course set up for the last three days and obviously that went out the window."
Sakit's time of 15:26.50 in the 5,000-meter race led all men's runners while Tech's Anthony Plourde finished second with a time of 15.31.11. Tech finishing in the top two marked the best men's performance in several years.
On the women's side, Tiesha Alexander (unattached) won with a time of 19:39.28. Tech's Mary Kate Hays was the top Techster finisher, running 20:00.65 to finish fourth overall. The fourth-place finish marked the first top-five finish in her career.
Overall, the Bulldogs had five runners finish in the top 10 Saturday morning. Taylor Ashton recorded a top five finish for Tech, finishing fourth with a time of 15:52. Rounding out the scoring for LA Tech was Tor Gach and Tom Stringer who finished with times of 16:05 and 16:06, respectively.
"The win gives me confidence," Sakit said. "I just wanted to win. All we wanted was to win the race. The most important meet is the conference meet two weeks from now."
Hayes was in sixth place going into the final stretch and used an impressive finish to not only jump into the top five, but to finish fourth.
"The last 200 meters I picked it up," Hayes said. "I probably should have done that sooner, but I did not know if I was going to be able to hold that pace for that long. It is usually a mental thing for me. I was surprised I was able to hold what I was running for that long, so I was pleased with the finish."
The Louisiana Tech men will travel Sept. 28 to Lake Charles to participate in the McNeese Cowboy Stampede while the women will travel on Oct.r 4, to Clinton, Miss. to participate in the Watson Ford Invitational.
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