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Hirko earns First Team All-SoCon honors, Roberts & Duffy receive Second Team
KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 31, 2014) – In its first appearance at the Southern Conference Cross Country Championships since 2004, ETSU turned in a pair of impressive performances with the men finishing runner-up while the women placed fourth on Friday at the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex.
"I thought we had strong efforts from both teams today," said ETSU Director of Cross Country George Watts. "We did not disappoint and finished where we were predicted to finish. We were :35 better per runner than when we ran on this course five weeks ago. That shows we did the correct training for this meet."
In the opening race Friday morning, the Buccaneer women raced to a fourth-place finish and a 104 point total in a 5K behind a third-place overall finish from junior Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) with a collegiate-best time of 16:50.41. This performance allowed Hirko to capture First Team All-SoCon Honors along with the other top-seven finishers.
"Katie Hirko had a superb performance. She led most of the way but couldn't quite cover the move late in the race. She continues to get better every season and she has more in the tank."
The ETSU men followed later in the morning with competition in an 8K where they placed second with a score of 71. Sophomore Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) paced the Buccaneers with an 11th-place overall finish and a personal-best 24:48.01 time. This placement allowed Roberts to secure Second Team All-SoCon honors and was joined on this team by teammate Sean Duffy (Jonesborough, Tenn.) who placed 14th with a career-best race of 24:56.25.
Furman swept the top team honors on both sides with point totals of 15 and 22, respectively. FU runners Tripp Hurt and Allie Buchalski each won Runner of the Year awards and Paladin head coach Robert Gary took home conference men’s and women’s cross country Coach of the Year.
On the women’s side, Hirko was followed in the standings by impressive performances from some of her underclassmen teammates. Macy Carrier (Bluff City, Tenn.) was the next Buccaneer to cross the finish line with a time of 17:53.41 and was trailed by Victoria Hutchens (Stuart, Va.) in 19th with an 18:09.02 time. Junior Lisa Pallotta (Leesburg, Va.) placed 33rd with a race of 18:42.14, while Carmen Hilliard (Oak Island, N.C.) finished 37th overall with an 18:50.05 time. Freshman Sarah Zimmer (Knoxville, Tenn.) slotted into 39th overall with a time of 18:52.79. Freshmen Kylie Rutherford (Lavalette, W.Va.) and Brianna Goble (Stony Point, N.C.) rounded out the ETSU contingent with placements of 60 and 76th, respectively, out of 79 runners.
"Macy Carrier finished 15 overall and the third freshman and made the All-Freshman Team. She's been a pleasant surprise and it's great to have local athlete do well."
"Although its more important in cross country to beat other teams, it's significant to note that all of the women had cross country personal bests today."
For the men, behind Roberts and Duffy in the standings were seniors Adam Chase (Kingsport, Tenn.) and James Miller (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) among the top 20 with times of 24:59.92 and 25:19.04, respectively. Placed just outside the top-20, but within the top 25, were Angus Baldwin (Tumbi Umbi, Australia) in 21st with a race of 25:21.01 and Matthew Warriner (Maryville, Tenn.) in 24th overall with a 25:37.36 race. Following, Matthew Joyner (Jackson, Tenn.) placed 31st with a time of 25:54.75 and was trailed by Daniel Sonnenfeldt (Knoxville, Tenn.) in 39th (26:17.64) and Haydn Borghetti-Metz (Rogersville, Tenn.) in 41st (26:22.06) out of 80 total runners.
"The men's team fought hard today and were a solid second place. I believe they can surprise some people at the regional meet in two weeks."
"Simeon Roberts and Sean Duffy made All-Conference with Adam Chase just one spot out. It was a tough race but we had a solid spread and I hope we can duplicate that at the next meet. With the exception of one or two guys, we had personal bests from the rest of the team. I'm very pleased with the leadership and bond that these guys have. They will continue to make an impact. With the exception of Angus, the men's team is made up of guys from the state of Tennessee. We need to continue to get better and show other kids it's possible to compete at a Division I level.
Members of the ETSU cross country program will next compete at the NCAA Division I South Regional on Friday, Nov. 14 in Tallahassee, Fla.
"The season is not over as we have the regional meet in two weeks. We've discussed our goals and we plan to improve on last year's race."
"I want to thank the parents of the kids that have been so supportive of the team throughout the season. We've had at least 10 of our kids' parents at every meet this season. I know the team appreciates the support."
Team Scores – Men
1. Furman 15
2. ETSU 71
3. VMI 92
4. Samford 108
5. Chattanooga 148
6. Western Carolina 156
7. UNCG 196
8. Mercer 212
9. Wofford 234
10. The Citadel 283
Team Scores – Women
1. Furman 22
2. Chattanooga 71
3. Samford 90
4. ETSU 104
5. UNCG 161
T6. Mercer 175
T6. Western Carolina 175
8. VMI 208
9. The Citadel 239
10. Wofford 247
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