Bucs sweep top spots at Spartan Invitational
Katie Hirko (left), Simeon Roberts (right)
Bucs sweep top spots at Spartan Invitational
Friday, September 26, 2014

ETSU runners litter top of standings in both races

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 26, 2014) – The ETSU cross country program wrapped up an impressive day of competition on Friday with both the men and women taking first place in their respective races at the UNC Greensboro Spartan Invitational at the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex.

The Buccaneer men occupied five of the top-10 finish placements in the 8K and were led by sophomore Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) placing second overall – behind only an unattached runner in first place – with a time of 25:22.53. Meanwhile, the women placed four in the top five -- including the top three times – and were paced by junior Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) who took the top spot with a personal-record 17:30.73 time in the 5K.

“We had a successful meet with both teams,” said ETSU Director of Cross Country George Watts. “It's always fun to win a competition. It turned out to be very beneficial to run on the conference course.”

Facing a field of competition featuring five additional teams – including three fellow Southern Conference members – the Blue & Gold put on a dominant performance at the same course which will used for the Southern Conference Championships on Friday, Oct. 31.

The ETSU men raced first and quickly took control. Running throughout the race in a tight pack, the Bucs crossed the finish line in a similar fashion. Following Roberts in the standings were a quartet of Blue & Gold runners including Matt Warriner (Maryville, Tenn.) in third (25:23.86), Adam Chase (Kingsport, Tenn.) in fourth (25:37.72), Sean Duffy (Jonesborough, Tenn.) in seventh (25:43.99) and James Miller (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) in 10th (25:55.70).

Not far behind the aforementioned runners were Angus Baldwin (Tumbi Umbi, Australia) in 12th overall with a 26:08.86 time and Matt Joyner (Jackson, Tenn.) in 13th with a time of 26:14.06. The Bucs also managed to add three more runners to the top 25 with Dan Sonnenfeldt (Knoxville, Tenn.) in 19th (27:02.77), Haydn Borghetti-Metz (Rogersville, Tenn.) in 20th (27:04.92) and Thomas Miller (Lithonia, Ga.) in 24th (27:19.32).

These times added up to a point total of 21 for the men which allowed them to take the team title over second-place Virginia Military Institute (VMI) who had a team score of 34.

“The men had to dig hard the last mile of the race to come out on top.”

With ETSU in clear possession of the momentum, the Buccaneer women picked up where the men left off and raced past their competition. Behind race winner Hirko in the standings were a pair of teammates who placed second and third, respectively, with freshman Macy Carrier (Bluff City, Tenn.) placing runner-up with a time of 18:16.12 and Victoria Hutchens (Stuart, Va.) rounding out the top three with an personal best 18:36.66 time. To complete the overtaking of the top five, Lisa Pallotta (Leesburg, Va.) placed fifth with a personal-high race of 19:02.76.

Following said runners in the top 20 were a trio of Bucs including Carmen Hilliard (Oak Island, N.C.) in 12th (19:33.69), Kylie Rutherford (Lavalette, W.Va.) in 17th (19:53.71) and Sarah Zimmer (Knoxville, Tenn.) in 19th (19:58.77). Brianna Goble (Stony Point, N.C.) was also able to sneak into the top 30 in 29th overall with a time of 21:09.12.

A point total of 23 let the ETSU women take the race crown ahead of runner-up VMI who accumulated a 48 team point total.

“Almost the entire women's team ran personal cross country bests to win the team race.”

The Blue & Gold will have a couple weeks off from competition before returning to action on Oct. 17 at the Western Carolina Catamount Classic in Cullowhee, N.C. in the program’s final tune-up before the league championships at the end of October.

“We get to begin another training cycle that hopefully will prepare us for the conference course.”

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