Hardeeville, SC - The Montreat College women's cross country team returned to action this past Saturday, traveling to the Low Country of South Carolina to compete in the Sandshark Invitational, hosted by The University of South Carolina at Beaufort. Resting several team members, a short-handed team still came through with some strong performances.
In a field of 264 runners, Alona Kosenko (SO/Charlotte, NC) and Samantha Gaskill (SR/Wilmington, NC) led the way finishing together with a time of 21:28 for the 5k race. Madeline Carter (FR/Elkin, NC) got off to a great start and was the front-runner for the Cavaliers before she suffered an ankle injury in the second mile. Carter persevered and finished the race with a time of 22:20. Tori Combs (JR/Deep Run, NC) made her debut for Montreat and finished with a time of 26:08.
"I was proud of how our women came out and competed today," said head coach Jason Lewkowicz. "We have been hit hard with sickness and injury over the past few weeks and I decided to hold out a number of our runners so we will be at full strength for the AAC Championships. That said, I was pleased at the effort level we got from the ladies who did run. Madeline's injury was unfortunate, as she was off to a great start. This group continues to gain experience and is working hard every day. I'm looking forward to seeing how they finish up the season."
The cross country teams will return to Knoxville, TN on Saturday, November 7 for the Appalachian Athletic Conference cross country championships.
Charlotte, NC - The men's and women's cross country teams traveled to Charlotte on Friday to take part in the Royals XC Challenge, hosted by Queens University at McAlpine Park. Around 80 colleges and universities took part in a meet that was split into two sections. The Cavaliers took part in a special NAIA section that was developed for teams to serve as a "pre-nationals" event, as the McAlpine Park course will serve as host of the 2015 NAIA Cross Country National Championships next month.
The men took to the race against a talented field of some of the best NAIA teams in the country and finished 18th overall. The first four Cavaliers came in closely packed, with Rylan Hincher (FR/North Wilkesboro, NC) leading the way with a time of 27:55. Teammate Steven Anhold (SO/Churchville, VA) was right behind Hincher in 27:56. Erik Rodriguez (SR/Euless, Texas) came through in 27:58 and Daniel Lancaster (SO/Wilmington, NC) in 28:00 as the top-four finished within four seconds of one another. Daniel Angarita (FR/Miller's Creek, NC) wrapped up the scoring five for the Cavaliers, finishing with a time of 29:04.
With the women's team battling some nagging injuries, head coach Jason Lewkowicz chose to rest some of the runners for the weekend. Montreat competed with four runners and Samantha Gaskill (SR/Wilmington, NC) led the way with a time of 21:29. Alona Kosenko (SO/Charlotte, NC) was the second Cavalier to cross, finishing with a time of 22:27. Madeline Carter (FR/Elkin, NC) finished the race in 23:29 and Sarah Smith (FR/Orlando, FL) came through the 5k course in 24:09.
"Today was a good learning experience for us," said Lewkowicz. The races didn't go like we wanted them to and I think we got a little caught up in the "big meet" atmosphere. Being such a young team, we've got to learn how to respond and run our race in all environments. We got humbled a bit today but the team is already using it as motivation as we move into the last part of our season."
The Cavaliers return to action on Saturday, October 24 as they take part in the Sandshark Invitational, hosted by USC-Beaufort.
Pisgah Forest, NC - The Montreat College women's cross country team took part in the Brevard College Cross Country Invitational on Friday and battled tough weather conditions to post a 2nd place team finish.
The rainy skies and wet course did not deter the Cavaliers, who saw the top-four all post season best times. Montreat was led by Madeline Carter (FR/Elkin, NC), who finished 4th overall with a time of 21:08. Samantha Gaskill (SR/Wilmington, NC) continued to impress, posting her second straight personal best performance, placing 9th with a time of 21:43. Alona Kosenko (SO/Charlotte, NC) became the thid Cavalier woman to crack the 22-minute barrier, placing 11th with a time of 21:58. MiKayla Poulter (SO/Hickory, NC) dropped nearly two minutes off her 5k time from a week ago, placing 21st with a time of 23:38. Sarah Smith (FR/Orlando, FL) wrapped up the scoring effort for the Cavaliers, placing 25th with a time of 24:24.
"It's great to see the hard work of our women's team paying off," said head coach Jason Lekwowicz. "You can see the improvement week by week and they are starting to turn their potential into production. It's also encouraging to see them come together to earn a strong team finish, even under the rainy conditions. We'll use the next two weeks to continue to build confidence and get healthy as we head towards the important part of our season."
The women's cross country team will be off until traveling to McAlpine Park in Charlotte, NC for the Queen's University Invitational on Friday, Octrober 9.