By Kaitlyn Mullis
The Western Carolina cross country teams hosted the Catamount Classic on Saturday, Sept 20, taking second in the men’s and women’s divisions. Three other colleges competed for the top spots, including the University of Georgia, Gardner-Webb University and the Savannah College of Art & Design.
The men’s 8K race was first, ending with junior Stephen Hammound placing third for the Catamounts with a time of 25:26.43. Freshman Josey Weaver came next for WCU, finishing in tenth place with 26:13.76, and sophomore Stephon Roach came in thirteenth with a time of 26:36.24. The final two scoring runners for the men’s team were Field Millar, a senior, in fifteenth place and Drew Tucker, a sophomore, finishing seventeenth. All five runners had scores in the top fifteen out of a field of thirty-five.
Western Carolina placed second with a score of 47, unable to top Georgia’s score of 18. The Savannah College of Art & Design took third with a score of 90, and Gardner-Webb placed fourth, totaling a score of 98. Georgia’s top two men’s runners took first and second, respectively, a mere two seconds ahead of Western’s top runner.
“We knew Georgia coming into the meet was going to be tough with them being ranked in the top 15 in the rankings,” WCU head coach Danny Williamson said. “On the men’s side our top six ran personal bests and you can’t ask for much more.”
The women ran in the second race of the day, following the 5K course that winds around the front of the university campus. Senior Megan Isaacs placed sixth for the Catamounts, running 18:32.91. Sophomore Jordan Gaddy, junior Lindsay Groce, and senior Leah Nicholson placed together, running ninth, tenth, and eleventh respectively. Danielle Shaurette, a junior, placed twelfth, allowing the women’s team to have all five scoring runners run the top fifteen in the field of forty runners.
The University of Georgia took top honors for the women’s race, scoring all runners in the top five for a perfect score of fifteen. Bulldogs senior Natalie Picchetti finished her race with a 17:53 even, outpacing her freshman teammate Kristie Krueger by two seconds.
With WCU taking second place with 48 points, Gardner-Webb took third place with a score of 83 and Savannah College of Art & Design placed fourth with a score of 113.
Williamson was pleased with how the girl’s team ran.
“Our top five women’s runners ran personal bests today,” he said. “The competition sets us up for success later this season in the Southern Conference.”
The Catamounts participated in the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Kentucky on Oct. 4, but results were unavailable as of press time. The cross country teams travel to Boone, NC on Oct. 17 for the Blue Ridge Open, hosted by Appalachian State University.
They will take part in the Southern Conference Championships on Nov. 1 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.