Cross country teams run strong in Greater Louisville Classic, Blue Ridge Open

By Kaitlyn MullisSports Writer

The men’s and women’s cross country teams participated in two of their largest meets, the Greater Louisville Classic on October 4 and the Blue Ridge Open on October 17, to end the regular season.

Western traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to run in the gold division of the Classic, which featured 33 men’s teams and 32 women’s teams. The men finished 26th for Western Carolina and the Lady Catamounts finished 18th in team rankings.

Finishing first for the women’s team with a time of 18:30 and a 43rd place finish was senior Megan Isaacs. Senior Skye Aiello ran a 19:01 to finish 92nd, with teammate Jordan Gaddy, a sophomore, finishing 93rd right behind her. Senior Leah Nicholson ran 19:11.72 to place 108th and Junior Danielle Shaurette placed 151, posting a time of 19:48.41.

“The women’s team knew they were running a man down with Lindsay Groce out with an injury, but they came out very competitive this weekend,” said head coach Danny Williamson following the competetion. “We had four of our seven women runners run or tie a lifetime best time.”

For the men’s team, junior Stephen Hammond led the way running a 25:16 for a 61st place finish. Sophomore Stephon Roach finished 141st with a time of 26:04. Western Carolina senior Field Miller, running a 26:35, finished at 184 and Josey Weaver, a freshman, ran a 26:57 despite losing a shoe in the beginning stages of the 4.5 mile course to place 206th. Rounding out the score for the men was Catamount sophomore Drew Tucker, placing 218th with a time of 27:06.

“I think it was a good weekend for us, five of the seven men ran lifetime bests this weekend,” Williamson said. “If Weaver wouldn’t have lost his shoe, I think we would have been up higher in the standings,”.

Blue Ridge Open ends with women’s 9th, men’s 14th place finishes

The Catamounts cross country teams faced conference rivals Appalachian State as they traveled to Boone, NC for the Blue Ridge Open on Friday, October 17. The women’s team finished 9th and the men finished 14th, both out of 26 teams.

Leading the women’s team was senior Megan Isaacs, running a time of 18:47 to place 15th out of 194 female runners. Seniors Leah Nicholson and Skye Aiello followed, with Nicholson running 19:19 to place 43rd and Aiello finishing 63rd with a time of 19:37.

Clemson University placed 1st for the women’s division, finishing with 74 points, thanks to running three women in the top 15. The Lady Catamounts finished in 9th place, but Appalachian State claimed 4th overall to claim the Old Mountain Jug.

Freshman Josey Weaver led the men’s team, finishing 65th out of 210 runners and posting a time of 26:16. Stephen Hammond, a junior, finished next with a 77th place finish and a time of 26:33. Western Carolina senior Field Miller came in 127th with a time of 27:27.

The University of North Carolina took the team honors for the men’s division by finishing with 43 points and running all five of their runners in the top 15. Western Carolina finished in 14th place. Appalachian State finished in 4th place with 119 points, taking home the Old Mountain Jug.