Oct. 12, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
The Western Carolina cross country teams had one of its best performances of the 2012 season as the Catamounts put four men and three women in the top 20 of both the men's and women's events of the Royals XC Challenge. Sophomore Jocelyn Keen was the top finisher for all WCU runners as the Fuquay Varina, N.C., native placed fifth overall, the second collegiate finisher behind Florida State's Jessica Butler. Senior Josey Weaver again paced the men as he placed sixth overall with his new school record time in the 8000m of 24:16.7.
The men put four runners in the top 14, led by the senior Weaver, to earn their best finish of the season, second place. The men ran an average time of 25:05.08 to finish behind Liberty who placed four runners in the top five and another in the top nine. More telling than the second place finish is the fact that as a team, the WCU men placed ahead of conference rivals Elon and Wofford.
Weaver - who crushed his previous top time in the 8k by more than 30 seconds - finished within a second of the fourth and fifth place finishers as the trio put on a show heading towards the finish line. Jeremie Bourget of Liberty and conference-rival Luis Vargas of Elon crossed the line just ahead of Weaver, finishing in 24:15.7 and 24:16.0. Sophomore Travis Alfaro continues to show his growth from his freshman season as he ran his new personal best time, 24:26.5. His previous best was 25:09 which he ran earlier this season at the Winthrop Invitational.
Seniors Nolan Clark and Chase Fisher also ran personal bests and finished in the top 14. Clark ran just outside of the top 10 in eleventh place, running a 25:04.7. Fisher's 25:08.7 earned the Concord, N.C., native a 14th place finish. Freshman Perry Cabean ran a 26:28.8 to place 53rd, to keep the string of new personal records alive. Senior Garrett West finished just behind Cabean in 57th with his time of 26:36.0 rounded out the Catamounts' top six runners.
On the women's side, Jocelyn Keen ran the second-fastest women's 5000m time ever in WCU history with her 17:46.8 to finish fifth overall. Senior Mara Smith - who holds the WCU 5000m record of 17:35 - finished second for the Catamounts, placing eighth overall with her time of 17:59.1. Sophomore Aleshia Reese rounded out the top 16 for Western Carolina with her time of 18:11.3, finishing 16th overall. Her time was a minute faster than the 5k she ran at the Winthrop Invitational nearly a month ago.
Junior Kaylan Lance placed 65th overall with her time of 19:08.5 while freshman Kaitlyn Shetler finished in 19:20.9 to finish 71st. Lena Elliott rounded out the top six runners for WCU with her time of 19:24.7, finishing 74th.
The women's team finished fifth overall, averaging the 5000m in 18:29.34.
Western Carolina returns to action in two weeks at the Southern Conference Championship, held in Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 27.