KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 13, 2017) – Paced by top-five finishes from a pair of freshmen, each of ETSU’s cross country teams produced a solid showing on Friday in the HPU Vertcross Invitational in Kernersville, N.C.
The men’s team was a close 2nd out of 17 teams, and the women 3rd in a competitive 16-team field, on the looped two-kilometer course at the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex, hosted by High Point University.
Lindsey Stallworth (Knoxville, Tenn.) was third in the women’s 6K race, while Ben Varghese (Kingsport, Tenn.) finished in the same spot in the men’s 8K.
The ETSU women’s 73 team points were just 11 back of High Point in first, five back of runner-up Appalachian State, and five better than 4th-place and Southern Conference rival Furman.
The men’s 70 points were 14 shy of the top team, Furman, and 38 better than third-place Appalachian State.
“What I liked was that we didn’t see this as a tuneup for the conference meet (on October 28), but more as a next step toward a successful season,” said Bucs head coach George Watts. “Both teams continue to fight hard to the finish and I’m pleased with the toughness they’ve showed.”
Stallworth covered the 6K distance in 21:48.32. Senior Emily Williams-McElroy (Bristol, Tenn.) joined her in the top ten, finishing 9th in a time of 22:11.94.
Two other Bucs reached the top 15 -- sophomore Kaitlyn Lay (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 11th in 22:14.49 (missing the top ten by less than a second-and-a-half) and senior Macy Carrier (Bluff City, Tenn.) was 13th at 22:22.55. Freshman Makayla Shaw (Jonesborough, Tenn.) was 5th-best for the Bucs and 37th in the scoring at 23:45.03.
“Our women’s team has depth but is a bit young,” said Watts. “I was pleased they all ran smart races and held their form throughout.”
For the men, Varghese covered the 8K in 24:40.23, and two Bucs joined Varghese him in the top twenty. Freshman Louis Morris (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 12th in the scoring at 25:20.83, and sophomore Nathan Longfellow (Cookeville, Tenn.) was 16th at 25:27.47.
Sophomore Adam Bradtmueller (Sarasota, Fla.) crossed the line 19th in the scoring at 25:39.38, barely ahead of teammate James Garst (Jonesborough, Tenn.) at 25:39.43.
“Our men really benefit from the depth we have, because we have a different top five every meet,” Watts said. “A couple of guys always seem to make a difference when other guys are struggling. That usually make a difference in championships.”
In other ETSU women’s results, freshman Heather Feuchtenberger (Elizabethton, Tenn.) was 41st in the scoring at 23:51.91 and redshirt junior Nicki Smith (Urbandale, Iowa) was 47th at 24:03.79. Freshman Colbie Williamson (Clyde, N.C.) was 61st overall at 24:06.54, freshman Lindsay Bruce (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 65th at 24:15.79, sophomore Mia DePillo (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was 66th 24:20.23, and junior Kylie Rutherford (LaValette, W. Va.) was 90th at 25:14.88 in the field of 107 runners.
In the men’s race, sophomore Nick Horne (Blountville, Tenn.) was 23rd in the scoring at 25:56.13, with freshman Malick Gemechu (Johnson City, Tenn.) a spot back at 25:59.37. Senior Carl Oberfeitinger (Kingsport, Tenn.) finished 37th overall at 26:15.86. Freshman Noah Charles (Johnson City, Tenn.) posted a time of 26:24.38 and fellow first-year runner Matthew Scarr (Wambersal, New South Wales, Australia) came home in 26:58.57. Freshman Ben O’Connor (Statesville, N.C.) ran a 27:21.71.
Up next for the Bucs is the Southern Conference Championships, to be held on Saturday, October 28 in Spartanburg, S.C.
For more information on Buccaneer Cross Country, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the cross country pages. Follow ETSU cross country on Twitter @ETSU_TF_XC