Men place third, women fifth against stiff opposition
BLACKSBURG, Va. – (Sept. 19, 2014) – Facing a tough field of competition featuring multiple nationally-ranked teams, the ETSU cross country program turned in solid performances with the men finishing third while the women finished fifth on Friday in the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course.
“We had solid performances from both teams today,” said ETSU Director of Cross Country George Watts.
Competing at less than full strength due to injuries, the Bucs had a few underclassmen step up to pace them in the race. Sophomore Matt Warriner (Maryville, Tenn.) led the pack for the Blue & Gold with a tenth-place overall time of 25:17.80. Less than a tenth of a second behind Warriner, fellow sophomore Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) finished in 11th with a 25:18.00 time.
Steady veteran Adam Chase (Kingsport, Tenn.) followed in 19th with a time of 25:24.80. Fellow veteran Sean Duffy (Jonesborough, Tenn.) also crept into the top-25 overall with a 24th placement and a 25:30.20 time. Trailing their teammates were James Miller (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) with a 31st place time of 25:45.70 and Angus Baldwin (Tumbi Umbi, Australia) in 41st with a 26:06.00 time.
Transfer Matt Joyner (Jackson, Tenn.) got into the action at 51st with a 26:39.00 time, while Dan Sonnenfeldt (Knoxville, Tenn.) followed in 56th overall with a 26:50.00 time. Rounding out the ETSU contingent, freshman Haydn Borghetti-Metz (Rogersville, Tenn.) slid into 59th in the standings with a 27:26.30 race.
An average team time of 25:27.30 in the 8K allowed the Blue and Gold to finish third overall behind nationally-ranked squads Florida State (No. 25) and North Carolina (No. 19) who finished first and second, respectively. The Bucs did finish ahead of host Virginia Tech who placed fifth with a 25:35.28 average time.
“The men ran much stronger and worked well as a team,” said Watts. “They did not fold when things got tough. We had a very nice spread between our top five and will need to hold that throughout the season.”
On the women’s side, a young ETSU team squared off against a pair of nationally-ranked foes. Per usual, the Bucs were led by veteran Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) who placed 10th overall with a 21:43.90 time. Freshman Macy Carrier (Bluff City, Tenn.) followed with a strong showing to round out the top-25 overall with a time of 22:31.90, while sophomore Victoria Hutchens (Stuart, Va.) snuck into the top 40 with a 23:19.30 race.
Veteran Lisa Pallotta (Leesburg, Va.) followed in 47th with a time of 23:44.40 and was trailed by a pair of underclassmen with Sarah Zimmer (Knoxville, Tenn.) in 53rd (24:21.70) and Carmen Hilliard (Oak Island, N.C.) in 54th (24:29.00). A trio of first-year runners completed the Blue & Gold contingent with Kylie Rutherford (Lavalette, W.Va.) in 56th, Alexa Zimmerman (Kingsport, Tenn.) in 59th and Brianna Goble (Stony Point, N.C.) in 70th.
With an average team time of 23:08.24 in the 6K, the Blue & Gold placed fifth out of seven teams. Florida State (No. 6 nationally) took the women’s title, too, with a 21:23.90 average team time, while North Carolina and Virginia Tech (No. 22) took second and third, respectively.
“The women are young and are still finding their way,” stated Watts. “They improved from our last meet, but I feel that they could've done a little better.”
ETSU will be back in action next Friday, Sept. 26, when it travels to Kernersville, N.C. to compete in the UNC Greensboro Spartan Invitational. This course is the same that will be used for the 2014 Southern Conference Championships.
“We race next Friday and will get a look at the conference course,” said Watts. “That should benefit us when we get to the SoCon Championships.”
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