Oct. 29, 2011
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The men's and women's cross country teams placed sixth at the 2011 SoCon Cross Country Championships held at the Trophy Lakes course in Charleston, S.C. on Saturday.
Mara Smith was the top finisher for the Catamount women's team. Smith placed tenth overall in the event with a time of 17:35.40, breaking the school record that she set two weeks ago in the Royal XC Challenge by nine seconds. Junior Morgan Turner placed 17th with a time of 17:49.40, also a personal-best for the Lincolnton, N.C., native. Olivia Jacobs ran in her last SoCon Championship as the senior posted a personal best 18:17.20, finishing 32nd overall. Three more Catamounts would post personal bests on the women's side with Alicia Reese (18:24.60, 35th), Faith Trammell (18:42.70, 49th) and freshman Michelle Provost (19:19.20, 70th) posting bests. Kaylan Lance ran a 19:30.40 while Lena Elliott posted a 19:59.10. Hayley Tomlinsonrounded out the Catamounts on the women's side with a 20:06.50 run.
On the men's side, Jake Swimmer led the way for the Catamounts for the first time this season as the junior posted a personal best 25:25.53. Nolan Clark, who has been the top finisher for Western Carolina all season, finished right behind his teammate with a time of 25:26.82. The two classmates finished 28th and 29th, respectively. Travis Alfaro placed 31st overall (25:32.54) and was named to the All-SoCon Freshman team, placing within the top seven of freshmen finishers. Chase Fisher (25:41.39, 38th) and Jacob Englert (25:46.07, 43rd) round out the top-50 for Western Carolina. Englert's time was a personal best for the freshman. Junior Garrett West also tallied a personal best with a time 26:19.89.
All told, the Catamounts posted 10 personal bests on the day. The sixth place finishes for the WCU harriers is the best finish for the Catamounts since the women's team finished sixth back in 2007. The men had not placed better than seventh since 2005 when the men's team finished sixth.
The UNCG men's and women's teams won the team titles, with Paul Chelimo and Ashley Schnell taking the individual titles for the Spartans. "Our kids performed the best that we have performed all season long," commented head coach Danny Williamson.
"This season serves as a platform for us to continue to move towards the top of the SoCon in Cross Country. We had numerous athletes again setting personal bests and re-writing the Western Carolina record book. To date, WCU should be very proud of what the WCU harriers have accomplished so far this season and the way these student-athletes have moved the program forward in just one season. This group has done everything that has been asked of them, and I am very proud of them."