Hardeeville, SC - The Montreat College men's cross country team traveled to the Low Country of South Carolina on Saturday to take part in the Sandshark Invitational, hosted by The University of South Carolina at Beaufort. Competing against strong competition that included 31 teams, the Cavaliers had a great showing, coming through with a number of personal best times en route to a 10th place team finish.
Daniel Lancaster (SO/Wilmington, NC) led the way for the Cavaliers, finishing 56th in the field of 276 runners with a personal best time of 26:50. As has been the case most of the season, it was a strong pack that propelled the Cavaliers to success as the next four men all finished within 30 seconds of one another, al in personal best times.. Rylan Hincher (FR/North Wilkesboro, NC) matched his personal best time of 27:21 for the 8k race, placing 74th. Steven Anhold (SO/Churchville, VA) came through in 82nd place with a time of 27:33. Brandon Welborn (SO/Traphill, NC) finished 93rd in a time of 27:48 while Holden Dixon (FR/Chocowinity, NC) was close behind, placing 98th with a time of 27:51.
Erik Rodriguez (SR/Euless, Texas) (28:36) and Daniel Angarita (FR/Miller's Creek, NC) (29:00) wrapped up the top seven for the Cavaliers. Lee Wooden (FR/Rock Hill, SC) came through with a new personal best time of 29:52, while track & field sprinters Joshua Kilgo (SR/Waxhaw, NC) (31:20) and Eli Hall (FR/Columbus, NC) (31:23) made their 8k season debut in strong form.
"I thought the men came out and competed well today," said head coach Jason Lewkowicz. "This is a meet that people come to in order to see strong competition on an open course. I felt that our guys responded to the bigger stage much better today and it showed in the strong team result. What I am most pleased is that the guys were not overly impressed with their effort. They want to do more and compete at an even higher level and I think they are well on their way to doing so."
The cross country teams now have two weeks to prepare for the Appalachian Athletic Conference championships, which take place Saturday, November 7 in Knoxville, TN.
Charlotte, NC - The men's and women's cross country teams traveled to Charlotte on Friday to take part in the Royals XC Challenge, hosted by Queens University at McAlpine Park. Around 80 colleges and universities took part in a meet that was split into two sections. The Cavaliers took part in a special NAIA section that was developed for teams to serve as a "pre-nationals" event, as the McAlpine Park course will serve as host of the 2015 NAIA Cross Country National Championships next month.
The men took to the race against a talented field of some of the best NAIA teams in the country and finished 18th overall. The first four Cavaliers came in closely packed, with Rylan Hincher (FR/North Wilkesboro, NC) leading the way with a time of 27:55. Teammate Steven Anhold (SO/Churchville, VA) was right behind Hincher in 27:56. Erik Rodriguez (SR/Euless, Texas) came through in 27:58 and Daniel Lancaster (SO/Wilmington, NC) in 28:00 as the top-four finished within four seconds of one another. Daniel Angarita (FR/Miller's Creek, NC) wrapped up the scoring five for the Cavaliers, finishing with a time of 29:04.
With the women's team battling some nagging injuries, head coach Jason Lewkowicz chose to rest some of the runners for the weekend. Montreat competed with four runners and Samantha Gaskill (SR/Wilmington, NC) led the way with a time of 21:29. Alona Kosenko (SO/Charlotte, NC) was the second Cavalier to cross, finishing with a time of 22:27. Madeline Carter (FR/Elkin, NC) finished the race in 23:29 and Sarah Smith (FR/Orlando, FL) came through the 5k course in 24:09.
"Today was a good learning experience for us," said Lewkowicz. The races didn't go like we wanted them to and I think we got a little caught up in the "big meet" atmosphere. Being such a young team, we've got to learn how to respond and run our race in all environments. We got humbled a bit today but the team is already using it as motivation as we move into the last part of our season."
The Cavaliers return to action on Saturday, October 24 as they take part in the Sandshark Invitational, hosted by USC-Beaufort.
Charlotte, NC - The Montreat College men's cross country team traveled to McAlpine Park in Charlotte for their third race of the season on Friday. The Cavaliers went up against a number of talented teams on the wet and muddy 8k course and came through with a 7th place team finish.
Running in their second 8k race in seven days, the men were led once again by Daniel Lancaster (SO/Wilmington, NC), who finished 28th overall with a time of 27:01. The next five Cavaliers were separated by only 33 seconds with Rylan Hincher (FR/North Wilkesboro, NC) heading that group with a time of 28:30. Brandon Welborn (SO/Traphill, NC) finished the race in 28:42 with Steven Anhold (SO/Churchville, VA) (28:53) and Holden Dixon (FR/Chocowinity, NC) (28:58) close behind. Erik Rodriguez (SR/Euless, Texas) (29:03) and Lee Wooden (FR/Rock Hill, SC) (30:46) completed the effort for the Cavaliers.
Montreat's 200 team points set them between NCAA Division 1 members Longwood (8th -202) and UNC-Greensboro (6th - 188).
"I was proud of the effort of our guys today," said coach Jason Lewkowicz. "We struggled a bit during the back end of the race and that has a lot to do with where we are in our training. It's been a great month of training but we have some tired legs right now and I knew that running our second 8k in a week was going to be tough. With that said, we were able to get out and check out the course where NAIA Nationals will be contested and get a feel for racing with good competition. We're excited to be back here in two weeks with the entire team as we move towards the championship season."
The cross country teams will be off until returning to McAlpine Park for a meet hosted by Queen's University on Friday, October 9.