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Bucs take top-two individual placements in both women’s and men’s races
CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Oct. 17, 2014) – The ETSU cross country program turned in another impressive performance with a pair of top-two team finishes with the women taking the top spot while the men took runner up in their respective races at the Catamount Classic on the Western Carolina University campus.
In races each featuring a field of competition of 10 teams, the Bucs built on some of the already-established momentum and continued in their preparations for the SoCon Championships in two weeks.
The ETSU women continued the energy from their last race a few weeks ago with another race title on Friday at WCU. Junior Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) continued her stellar season by pacing the competition with an 18:21.96 time in the 5K. Hirko was trailed closely in the standings by freshman Macy Carrier (Bluff City, Tenn.) who placed runner-up with an 18:49.81 time. Sophomore Victoria Hutchens (Stuart, Va.) was also able to finish among the top-10 with a ninth-place standing of 19:21.82.
The Bucs managed to place two additional runners in the top-20 overall with Lisa Pallotta (Leesburg, Va.) racing to a 15th-place finish with a 19:47.79 time, while freshman Sarah Zimmer (Knoxville, Tenn.) placed 20th with a time of 20:15.50. ETSU’s contingent was rounded out with fellow frosh Brianna Goble (Stony Point, N.C.) finishing 48th – out of 67 runners – with a 22:22.65 time.
These times equated out to a 19:19.37 average team time for the Blue & Gold which allowed it to finish first overall with a 44 point total -- ahead of runner-up Charlotte who had a score of 45.
"The women competed hard and came away with their second win in a row," said ETSU Director of Cross Country George Watts. "It's great that they are learning how to win. The race came down to the last few meters and we held on for the victory. It was nice to go 1-2 for the second race in a row. Katie Hirko continues to lead the team and freshman Macy Carrier keeps getting better. The others are showing great progress and are excited to see how they perform in two weeks."
Dealing with a few injuries, the Buccaneer men fought through the adversity to finish second – only one point behind winner Virginia Military Institute. Like the women, the men occupied the top-two individual placements in their race led by sophomore Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) in first with a 25:39.64 time while Sean Duffy (Jonesborough, Tenn.) trailed in runner-up with a time of 25:46.66 in the 8K. James Miller (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) also joined his teammates among the top-10 in seventh with a 26:35.03 time.
The Bucs also managed to place two additional runners in the top-15 overall with freshman Haydn Borghetti-Metz (Rogersville, Tenn.) placing 13th with a time of 27:12.86, while Chase Mussard (Cookeville, Tenn.) raced to a 15th-place finish with 27:15.98 time. Sneaking into the top-20, transfer Matthew Joyner (Jackson, Tenn.) placed 19th overall with a 27:25.02 time.
Completing the group of Buccaneer runners, Thomas Miller (Lithonia, Ga.) raced to a 54th – out of 74 runners – overall finish with a time of 30:19.27.
In total, the Bucs averaged out to a 26:30.03 team time. A score of 38 placed ETSU behind race winner VMI – who had a point total of 37 – but ahead of Charlotte in third with a score of 58.
"Our men's team came up one point short of winning," said Watts. "Simeon Roberts and Sean Duffy did a nice job giving us a 1-2 finish for the men to go along with the women. We had four guys unable to finish and I feel certain we could've won if just one of the four could've gotten across the line. It is a concern going forward, but we have to find a way to get healthy and put our best team out there for the conference championship."
The cross country program will have two weeks of preparation before competing in the Southern Conference Championship on Friday, Oct. 31, in Kernersville, N.C.
"I'm very pleased with both teams' efforts in practice and competition," said Watts. "We will do everything in our power to have both teams prepared for the next race."
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