Cross Country competes against region’s best at NCAA meet
Cross Country competes against region’s best at NCAA meet
Friday, November 14, 2014

Men with a 13th overall team finish, women 23rd

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2014) – The ETSU cross country program showed well against the region’s elite on Friday at the NCAA South Regional Championships at Apalachee Regional Park with the men’s team placing 13th out of 22 teams, while the women’s team finished 23rd out of 29.

In respective races, the Bucs were paced by junior Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) in the women’s meet with a 42nd overall placement – out of nearly 200 runners – and a time of 20:46.00 in the 6K, while the ETSU men were led by Adam Chase (Kingsport, Tenn.) in 30th overall – out of 160 runners – with a 31:15.20 in the 10K.

The women kicked things off at Regionals with a 9 a.m. start time. As she has all season, Hirko led the way for the Blue & Gold with an impressive run that was second-best among SoCon runners participating in the meet. Unfortunately, the junior’s young teammates were not able to keep up with her brisk pace. Freshman Macy Carrier (Bluff City, Tenn.) crossed the finish line 116th overall with a time of 21:49.70. Fellow Bucs Victoria Hutchens (Stuart, Va.) and Sarah Zimmer (Knoxville, Tenn.) slotted into placements 134 and 160 with times of 22:09.00 and 22:44.20, respectively. A pack of ETSU runners placed between 164 and 178 with Lisa Pallotta (Leesburg, Va.) racing to a time of 22:47.40, Carmen Hilliard (Oak Island, N.C.) recording a 23.10.60 time and Kylie Rutherford (Lavalette, W.Va.) posting a 23:19.00 race.

An average race time of 22:03.26 placed the Bucs into 23rd overall out of 29 teams. The Blue & Gold was able to edge conference foe Mercer in the standings who placed 28th with a 22:21.14 average race time.

"We did not race as I had hoped for both teams," said ETSU Director of Cross Country George Watts. "Our women's team was not prepared for the larger field of runners and got caught too far back in the pack. We will need to learn from this experience. One positive to take from today is that the entire team returns for next year and should be better prepared for the meet in 2015." 

The men followed with a 10 a.m. start time and got strong showings from seniors Chase and Sean Duffy (Jonesborough, Tenn.). On Chase’s heels among the top 35, Duffy placed 33rd overall with a 31:22.40 time. Teammates Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) and James Miller (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) trailed in 66th and 77th, respectively with times of 31:58.10 and 32:07.90. Transfer Matthew Joyner (Jackson, Tenn.) crept into the top 100 with a 96th-place finish with a 32:31.60 time. Rounding out the ETSU contingent were Matthew Warriner (Maryville, Tenn.) in 111th with a race of 32:52.10 and Angus Baldwin (Tumbi Umbi, Australia) in 149th with a 34:42.10 time.   

These seven times averaged out to a 31:51.04 race time; good for 13th out of 22 participating teams. This placement was best among SoCon participating teams which included Samford in 16th and Mercer in 21st.

"The men's team was closer to a top-five finish than the placing indicates. Sometimes one guy can make a huge difference one way or another. Today it worked against us. We were in great position at the halfway mark but couldn't quite finish it off. Our seniors ran well and I appreciate their efforts." 

This meet brings the season to a close for both teams after each experienced some successes this fall, highlighted by strong performances at the 2014 Southern Conference Cross Country Championships where the men placed runner-up and the women finished fourth overall in respective their respective races.

"Both teams made great progress this season and with our new recruits coming in, I'm already looking forward to next year." 

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