Both Catamount cross-country teams started out the season the way they started out last season: with strong finishes. The Ladies Cross Country team earned a 2nd place finish at the Clemson Cross Country Invitational, edging out Gardner-Webb by just a single point. The South Carolina Gamecocks won the event with 31 points. Western Carolina scored 48 points, with Gardner-Webb scoring 49 points, next was South Carolina State with 121 points and Piedmont College rounded out the teams with 144 points. Kerrie Savery led the way with a second place finish with a time of 18:45, which was just nine seconds behind the winner, Michele Milner of Gardner-Webb. Savery made school history with the 11th-best 5K time. Sophomore Skye Aiello ran her personal-best time of 19:36, good for seventh place. She beat out freshman teammate Lindsay Groce, who finished eighth just a half-second later. Both she and Aiello had the 30th best time in WCU history. Five other WCU runners finished in top 32 runners, freshman Sara Dickson (16th), with a time of 20:38, sophomore Ann Wagner (18th) 20:51, freshman Brittany Beeker (21st) 21:09, freshman Annie Bailey (29th) 22:16 and sophomore Jenna finished 31st with a time of 22:42. The men placed third scoring 64 points, 10 more than second-place Gardner-Webb. Clemson won the invitational with just 19 points, followed by Gardner-Webb and Western. South Carolina State finished fourth with 121 points, and Piedmont finished in fifth with 134 points. Senior Dan Fassinger led the way for the Catamounts with a 10th place finish, running the 8-K race in 26:48. Stephen Hammond placed 14th in his first collegiate event with a time of 28:14. Six other runners finished in the top 25, Jake Clawson placed 16th crossing the finish line in 28:22. Eighteen seconds later, sophomore Field Miller came in for the 17th place finish. Jesse Ramirez finished 20th at 29:03, Noah Taylor came in 9 seconds later to finish 21st. Jamie McCann and Dylan Hermelee came in 20 and 30 seconds later respectively for the 22nd and 23rd place finishes. In their only home race of the season and the first home race in over two years, Western Carolina finished last in both the men’s and the women’s races. The men’s team finished in seventh and the women’s team finished in sixth. The women finished in sixth with 125 points, 19 points behind fifth place UNC-Asheville; Gardner-Webb came in fourth with 96 points, Milligan College was in third place with 83 points, and Appalachian State came in second with 36 points, which was 17 points more than the winner, University of Georgia. Former WCU runner Deanna Kulesz finished 14th with a time of 15:03. The first Catamount runner to finish was Kerrie Savery in 19th place (15:20), no other WCU runner finished in the top 30. Skye Aiello finished in 37th place with a 16:05 finish, Ann Wagner came in 52nd (16:43), Brittany Beeker came in 60th with a 17:15 time. Annie Bailey came in two spots later at 62nd (17:43), Jenna Hester finished 65th in 18:07 and Brooke Sadler rounded out the WCU runners with a 70th place finished at 20:01. The men finished in seventh place with 162 points, 11 points more than sixth-place Milligan College; UNC Asheville came in fifth with 134 points. Fourth place went to Gardner-Webb with 113 points, while East Tennessee State had a strong third place finish with 93 points. There were only four points between second place Georgia with 34 points and first place Appalachian State with 30 points. Former WCU runner Adam Puett finished in 31st with a time of 21:30. Stephen Hammond was the first WCU runner to finish the race; he came in 37th with a 21:55 time. Field Miller came in seven spots later with a time of 22:09. Jessie Ramirez and Jamie McCann finished 47th and 48th respectively with times of 22:17 and 22:28. Chris Justice, Noah Taylor and Jestin Jennings finished 55th-57th place finishes with times of 23:34, 23:45 and 24:32 and Matt Chieg rounded out the WCU runners with a 59th place finish with a time of 24:47.