The men's and women's cross country teams began their 2014 campaigns at Asbury University on Saturday. The new Asbury course proved to be a tough challenge for the competitors; coupled with the heat, fast times were difficult to come by.
The meet began with the women's 5,000m race that saw the Lady Bearcats finish in 4th place. Embra Hawkins (Sr.) led the way with a 9th place finish with a time of 21:43, closely followed by Olivia Warren (Sr.) in 10th. Sophomore, Courtney Naas battled illness to finish 20th. The women's race was won by, host, Asbury University.
Head Coach, Alan Schulze had these remarks about the women's team, "Fourth place and being this far away from Asbury clearly wasn't what we had in mind, but it isn't time to panic yet. We had some great performances by some girls who ran really gutsy races. Embra raced fantastic and Olivia was consistent as always. Naas battled through sickness, but never gave up. Sami and Cassie raced extremely tough. On a day like this the finishing time isn't the most important thing."
For the early season meet, the men also ran 5,000m instead of the normal 8,000m. The final team standings showed the Bearcats finishing in 3rd place, 5 points ahead of Asbury and only 3 points behind Lindsey Wilson. The men's team was led by freshman, Tristan Durbin who placed 5th overall in a time of 17:15. Junior, teammate, Andrew Atkins, placed 8th with a time of 17:45. Chase McCauley (Fr.) was the 3rd runner for the Bearcats, coming in 13th.
"I think the guys team are a little further ahead than they were at this point last year. It's nice to have success this early in the season, but we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. Durbin ran great, in his first college race, and Drew proved the he can be a force up front as well. Chase was a nice surprise and Trey has already improved from where he was last year.", said Coach Schulze.
The teams have the upcoming weekend off, but will return to action when they travel to Nashville, TN to race the Commodore Classic at Vanderbilt University on 9/13.