The new T-shirts said it all: "There's No Stoppin Coppin."
Coppin State College, which never had won a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference cross country title since the meets began in (women in 1981), started making up for lost time yesterday when it made a clean sweep of individual and team championships at Oregon Ridge Park.
Felisha Harris and Courtney Bennett thwarted fast-closing charges by Morgan State's Lisa Shands and Troy Baker, respectively, to win the individual crowns and the outstanding performer awards.
Harris was timed in 21 minutes, 33 seconds for 5,000 meters, and Bennett 27:37 for 8,000 meters.
This was the third individual title of the year for Bennett, a sophomore from Philadelphia, and a marked improvement from his showing a year ago. Then, bothered by tendinitis in the knees, he struggled home 26th.
Bennett and Baker, a Morgan State senior, went shoulder-to-shoulder for most of the distance. Baker forged a slight lead about three-quarters of the way into the race, but in Bennett's words, "I wasn't worried. I knew he'd come back to me."
There was some confusion among the leaders over the markers at the final turn, and Bennett had a 30-meter lead at the finish. Although a protest was lodged, the result was allowed to stand.
Coppin put three runners in the first five, and the team's fourth and fifth finishers finished in front of their Morgan counterparts to clinch the victory.
"We had seen the course, but some changes were made, and it was tougher, with more hills, than I expected," Harris said.
She and Coppin teammate Diana Pitts and three runners from Morgan State, headed by Shands, took charge early, and after Pitts slipped back with a cramp, Harris went on to hold off her closeest pursuers.
Team scores (8,000 meters): Coppin State 46; Morgan State 60; Howard 78; Delaware State 97; Florida A&M 126; North Carolina A&T 154; South Carolina State 158; UMES 164; Bethune-Cookman 265.
1. Courtney Bennett, CS, 27:37; 2. Troy Baker, MS, 27:50; 3. Nicholas Eugene, CS, 28:04; 4. Chris Kelly, A&M, 28:10; 5. Euan Hinds, CS, 28:26; 6. Sean Hendrick, MS, 28:27; 7. Tim Hall, SCS, 28:38; 8. Rodney Mickle, HU, 28:38; 9. 9. Simon Bowen, MS, 28:52; 10. Reginald Johnson, HU, 29:09; 11. Philip McKenzie, HU, 29:29; 12. Gary Stulir, DS, 29:32; 13. Joseph Smaw, A&T, 29:38; 14. Sean Turner, DS, 29:43; 15. Andrew Clayton, DS, 29:48.
16. Larry Engish, CS, 29:55; 20. Mark Ensley, MS, 30:39; 21. Kirk Myers, CS, 30:40; 23. Moses Robinson, MS, 30:47; 26. Jock Blackwell, MS, 31:04; 34. Kelvin Barton, CS, 31:39; 35. Phil
Johnson, CS, 31:47; 44. Mike Whitt, MS, 33:36.
Team scores (5,000 meters): Coppin State 41; Morgan State 43; Howard U. 79; Delaware State 100; South Carolina State, 128; UMES 144; Bethune-Cookman 190; North Carolina A&T did not have five finishers. Florida A&M does not field a team.
1. Felisha Harris, CS, 21:33; 2. Lisa Shands, MS, 21:34; 3. Andrea Thomas, MS, 21:46; 4. Latashia Key, MS, 21:50; 5. Suzie Tanefo, HU, 21:56; 6. Diana Pitts, CS, 7. Kimyetta Knox, SCS, 22:13; 8. Lavette Pinckney, SCS, 22:20; 9. Sheree Carter, CS, 22:24; 10. Ursula Williams, HU, 22:26; 11. Raquel Beverly, CS, 22:30; 12. Valicia Davis, MS, 22:38; 13. Michelle Brown, DS, 22:44; 14. Sandra Dobson, CS, 22:57; 15. Kim Burke, DS, 23:05.
22. Rinea Ray, MS, 23:57; 34. Kisha Cox, Cs, 26:07; 38. Lisa Edmonds, MS, 26:13.