Dustin Wheeler finished 18th in the men's race. Photo by Bo Kidd
Cross Country - Tue, Sep. 6, 2016
Veteran leadership is often important to any team, however, not essential as is evident by Georgetown College's men's and women's cross country teams.
The Tigers have no seniors this year, but the youthful bunch packs a solid punch. In the season opening race Friday in Berea, the women finished fourth and the men eighth.
On the women's side the youth led the way – six freshmen finished in the top eight Tiger runners on the course and four of the top five.
"It was a good first race," said GC coach Lucas Garnett. "We are very excited about our freshmen and what they did shows why, but we cannot overlook what Karina Egger did and does for our team.
"As one of our three juniors, Karina can really set the tone and tonight she ran her best college race. We are going to continue to lean on her as she's stepped up and accepted that role of leader on and off the course."
Madison Central standout Julia Manning finished fourth in her first collegiate race, running the two-mile course in 12 minutes 20 seconds 47 tenths. Egger finished 12th in 12:47.90 and rookie Sutton Godar put a third Tiger in the top 20 finishers, coming in at 17th in 13:05.30.
Victoria Hafner was the next GC runner across in 13:46.35 with Maddie Elder representing the final scoring runner in 14:08.13.
Marissa Forrest, 14:19.24; Kater Riddle, 14:23.79; Mary Lou Loxley, 14:32.65; Courtney Lee, 16:35.83; and Jenny Wilson, 18:55.24; also ran, representing the depth Garnett has this season on the women's side.
Dustin Wheeler continues to develop in cross country and was the lone Tiger male in the top 20, taking 18th in the 5,000-meter race in 16:43.55.
"Dustin set a new personal record at this distance and has made such great strides from this past season," Garnett said. "This is only his second year competing."
Austin Snider, 17:39.46; Ben Peterson, 18:06.18; Grant Carr, 19:00.85; and Logan McNabb, 19:08.68; rounded out the scoring runners on the men's side with Erick Mills, 19:28.85, and Cody Cooper, 21:19.96, also running Friday for the Tigers.
"We were a little short-handed on the men's side this week, but expect to be back to full strength in a week or two," Garnnett said.
The women were just 10 points behind Mid-South Conference foe University of the Cumberlands, and comfortably ahead of Asbury University.
Cumberlands, the only other conference team in this event, finished second on the men's side. Georgetown finished ahead of Transylvania University and Alice Lloyd.
"Overall, I could not be more pleased with how the races went. We are a young team that has no seniors. Almost half of the team this year are freshmen or transfers that are new to the program," Garnett said. "I was impressed with how well they handled themselves in their first collegiate race."
Georgetown is back on the course next Saturday in the MSC Preview race in Bowling Green, Ky.