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Solid season openers from Gerrard

Manx Sports Aid recipient Keith Gerrard has opened his second year at the University of New Mexico with two solid performances for the "Lobos" cross country team.

In his first outing of the season he lined up in a field of 85 competitors for the 2010 Lobo Invitational, which was held at an altitude of over 5000ft on the university golf course, Albuquerque.

At three kilometres Gerrard, who was holding a ninth place, moved up a gear to close down a 10-second gap on the third placed athlete.

He continued to pile on the pressure crossing the line in a comfortable third place covering the eight kilometre course in a time of 25mins 5secs.

On Saturday he travelled with the "Lobos" to Minneapolis for the Roy Griak Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota.

Over 200 athletes were to contest the Men's Division 1 Gold eight kilometre race, which had attracted many of the top-ranked teams in the USA .

The first three kilometres of race were dominated by Kenyan athletes Stephen Sambu (Arizona) and Nicholas Kipruto (New Mexico) with Gerrard clearly leading the trailing athletes in third place.

Keith finished the race in an excellent sixth position recording a time of 24mins 25secs with the highly rated Sambu winning in 23mins 40secs.

When asked about his race plan he said, "I didn’t want to get into a tactical race and risk getting held up in a large pack so I decided to just go out and run a hard race."

Out of the twenty two universities in the team event the Lobos placed third, one point behind The University of North Carolina, with Duke University, also of North Carolina, finishing top.

The University of New Mexico team will now head to the Notre Dame Adidas Invitational at South Bend, Indiana on Friday, where they hope to secure more points towards qualification for the NCAA cross country final in November.

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