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Men earn first, women runners-up, at Virginia Tech Invite
Adam Chase (left), Katie Hirko (right)
Adam Chase (left), Katie Hirko (right)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Momentum carries over from last week for ETSU cross country program

BLACKSBURG, Va. (Sept. 20, 2013) – In a reduced field of competition featuring host Virginia Tech, King University and various unattached runners, the ETSU men’s and women’s cross country teams competed strongly again including a first-place finish for the men and a runner-up standing for the women at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational Friday evening at the Virginia Tech Cross Country Course.

“I am very pleased with the performances of both teams today,” said ETSU Director of Track & Field/Cross Country George Watts. “We had improvements across the board from those that ran the same course last year.”

“We are currently in a very heavy training phase and the kids responded with a strong race and showed toughness throughout.”

After registering a stellar start to the season last week at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn., the ETSU cross country program continued the momentum into Friday versus a smaller field but on a very challenging course.

The women kicked things off with a 6K race in the early evening which featured sophomore Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) taking first-place overall with a time of 21:32.90, a collegiate-best for her in a 6K. Much like last week in Nashville, Hirko was followed in the results by veteran Chelsea Clark (Fairmont, W.Va.) who tallied a ninth-place standing and a 22:41.80 time.

Racing four additional student-athletes this week, Jessica Palmer (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) too broke into the top-15 with a mark of 23:19.10 and a 13th-place finish. Not far behind Palmer was Lisa Pallotta (Leesburg, Va.) in 16th-place overall with a 23:54.50 time. Freshman Carmen Hilliard (Oak Island, N.C.) rounded out the top-20 with a scurry of 24:22.00

Fellow freshman Victoria Hutchens (Stuart, Va.) experienced her first collegiate action and notched a time of 24:44.80 and a 23rd overall standing.

These individual scores added up to 48 points for the ETSU women; good for second place. Host Virginia Tech led the way with a team score of 25 while King slated third with 75 points.

Looking to repeat the top-three team finish from last week, the men did one better in Blacksburg. Paced this week by Adam Chase (Kingsport, Tenn.), the men took the top spot with score of 48, just edging host Virginia Tech who scored 49.

Chase, who finished third overall with a time of 25:30.20, was directly followed by Anders Ludvigsen (Odense, Denmark) one spot back in fourth place with a 25:32.90 mark. Joining the aforementioned runners in the top-10 was teammate Angus Baldwin (Tumbi Umbi, Australia) in seventh with a time of 25:37.30.

The Buccaneers raced seven additional runners in the 8K Friday including Sean Duffy (Jonesborough, Tenn.) in 15th-place overall with a time of 25:45.20, Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) in his first collegiate action matching Desmond Pierce (Morristown, Tenn.) with identical times of 25:51.00 for 18th-place and James Miller (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) 21st overall with a 26:07.50 mark.

Three ETSU runners also made their season debuts with Dylan Harper (Pikeville, Tenn.) notching 30th overall with a time of 27:21.40, Matthew Warriner (Maryville, Tenn.) gaining 33rd overall in his collegiate debut with a 27:50.60 time and Thomas Miller (Lithonia, Ga.) in 39th-place with a time of 28:26.80 in his ETSU introduction.

Two unattached teams followed Virginia Tech in both third and fourth place with King bringing up the rear in fifth with 109 points.

“Katie [Hirko] is to be commended for her strong showing in winning the race and it’s great to get a team victory by the men under any circumstance, said Watts. “I’m looking forward to the next phase of training and competition and I am very proud of all of our student-athletes.”

For the Blue and Gold, both teams will not be in action next week and will continue competition on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky.

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