Sept. 28, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sophomore Jocelyn Keen ran the third fastest women's 6000m time in Western Carolina history to pace the Catamounts at the fourth annual Charlotte Invitational held at McAlpine Park on the campus of UNC Charlotte Friday afternoon. Keen ran a 22:29.59 to pace the WCU runners.
The time for Keen earned her a 26th place finish in the women's Gold Race. Six Catamounts represented the Purple and Gold in the Gold Race. The Catamount with the fastest ever 6000m time - Mara Smith - placed 47th overall with her time of 22:50.86. Aleshia Reese (70, 23:10.80) and Kaylan Lance (118, 24:11.28) were the next two to finish. Rounding out the women runners were Hayley Tomlinson (128, 24:36.80) and Michelle Provost (157, 25:30.42).
As a team, the women finished 14th out of 33 total teams, with an average time of 23:27.86. Clemson led the field with SoCon rivals Appalachian State, Samford and Elon finishing second, fourth, and fifth, respectively. Davidson placed tenth for the day with College of Charleston placing 19th. Junior Nicole irving of Wake Forest was the top collegiate finisher with a time of 20:59.58.
Five more Catamounts competed in the women's Green 6k. Leading this group of runners was sophomore Lena Elliott. Elliott placed 44th with a time of 25:22.94. Elliott was the only non-freshman WCU runner in this group. Classmates Mackenzie Jensen and Sarah Spanbauer finished 56th and 58th, respectively, with their times of 26:41.02 and 27:10.84. The final two runners were Holly Gaines (69, 29:00.74) and Stephanie Burris (71, 29:28.15).
In the men's 8k Gold Race, Josey Weaver again paced the male runners, finishing 31st overall with his time of 25:16.39. Weaver has led WCU in all three meets this season. Teammate Travis Alfaro finished just behind Weaver in 33rd place finishing in 25:18.02. Nolan Clark ran a 25:43.09 to finish just outside of the top 50 in 51st. Seniors Chase Fisher (26:55.82) and Garrett West (27:33.05) placed 125th and 158th. The two Catamount freshmen to run in the Gold Race, Perry Cabean and Ryan Johnson, ran times of 27:51.11 and 28:06.52 to earn 171st and 180th.
The men finished 13th overall out of 35 teams, averaging the 8000m in 26:09.27. Virginia Tech won the men's event averaging 24:39.51 at McAlpine Park. Pardon Ndhlovu of UNC-Pembroke ran the fastest time, 24:20.72. Conference rivals Davidson (Third, 25:19.03), Appalachian State (Fourth, 25:23.59), Samford (Tenth, 26:06.98) and Elon (11th, 26:05.81) finished ahead of the Catamounts as WCU outran the College of Charleston who finished 23rd overall (27:12.43).
In the men's Green 8k, sophomore Aaron Harris led all Catamounts with his time of 28:16. Billy Simpson (29th) and Michael Cornwell (30th) ran 28:27 and 28:28. Classmates Cooper Wurst (28:52), Kaleel Barton (29:39) and Jamie Bigby (30:14) rounded out the WCU runners.
Friday's meet also served as a dual meet between rivals Western Carolina and Appalachian State for the "Battle of the Old Mountain Jug". Appalachian State retained the jug based on their performance Friday afternoon.
The Western Carolina cross country team will return to the Queen City, Charlotte, N.C., for the Royal Cross Country Challenge on Friday, Oct. 12. Results from the meet can be found at CatamountSports.com.