Oct. 14, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
Junior Mara Smith recorded the fastest 5000m time in Western Carolina history Friday, while Nolan Clark posted a top-15 finish as WCU completed the Royal Cross Country Challenge in Charlotte, hosted by Queens College. Overall, the women's team placed fourth while the men finished sixth.
"Both our Women and Men's Teams competed with a lot of WCU school pride today," said head coach Danny Williamson.
"I am very proud of them for that, but we don't want to be fully satisfied with this performance because I think that all of our runners feel that they have a lot more left and much more to give before this season is over. This was a very good showing for us with the SoCon Championship Meet up next on our schedule."
On the women's side, of the nine WCU women that competed, eight recorded personal bests, highlighted by Mara Smith clocking in at 17:44, finishing seventh overall. Behind Smith were Morgan Turner who placed 15th overall with a time of 18:11 and Olivia Jacobs finishing 21st with a time of 18:23. Smith, Turner and Jacobs all improved their Top 30 All-Time WCU Performance List times. Following the top three were Aleshia Reese (18:48), Kaylan Lance (19:14), Faith Trammel (19:44) and Hayley Tomlinson (19:58). Freshman Aleshia Reese and sophomore Kaylan Lance moved into the Top 30 List with their performances Friday. Michelle Provost recorded a 20:02 time. The women's team placed fourth out of 21 total teams, finishing ahead of SoCon rivals Davidson, Georgia Southern and The Citadel. Only Elon finished ahead of the Catamounts.
"I thought that our ladies did a much better job today of competing at a higher level," continued Williamson. "We were just a little off with our front pack and still were able to record some incredible performances. My hat goes off to Mara [Smith] and her school record-breaking performance and to all the other ladies that recorded personal bests."
On the men's side, Nolan Clark, Chase Fisher, Travis Alfaro and Jake Swimmer all cracked the 26:00 barrier for the first time this season. Nolan Clark paced the men with a time of 25:11. Chase Fisher - with his time of 25:37 - improved his Top 30 list standing for the 8,000m along with Clark. Travis Alfaro (25:40) and Jake Swimmer (25:52) both moved into the Top 25 with their performances. Jacob Englert cross the line in 26:24. Garret West (27:07) and Aaron Harris (29:45) followed. All of these times were season bests. The men's team ranked sixth out of 19 teams.
"Our men came in with a purpose to show that we are capable of being competitive at the 8K distance, and we did a pretty good job at it. When you look at the final team scores you will see that only eight points separated the third place spot from our sixth place position. We did a pretty good job up in the front and can be much better at the 4-6 positions. Once we get that nailed down, we can be even more competitive than we were today. I'm happy with the effort that we put forth today."
Western Carolina will next participate in the Southern Conference Championships Charleston, S.C. two weeks from now, on Sat., Oct. 29.