Kater Riddle and Maddie Elder ran personal records in Jenna Strong Classic.
Cross Country - Tue, Oct. 18, 2016
Georgetown College cross country teams continue to challenge themselves against larger fields of competition, including numerous NCAA teams. Friday evening was no different in the Jenna Strong Classic. The men had steady progress throughout the race as the Tigers were 33rd 600-meters into the race and 1,400-meters later were at 29th. At the end of the 8,000-meter race, GC finished 28th.
On the women's side, it was consistency. At the two check points, same as the men, the female Tigers were 22nd and that is where they finished at the end of the 5,000-meter race in a pack of 38 teams.
"This is the best race the men have run all season by a long shot," said GC coach Lucas Garnett. "The men have had a rough go so far – injuries, illnesses, various setbacks. It was awesome to finally see them all well and together on the same day.
"We had seven men running and had seven season best times – I like those numbers – with three personal records and one not far off. We have a very young team with a ton of potential. They are just now starting to show what they are capable of doing."
Dustin Wheeler continues to be the amazing surprise gift under the Christmas tree. The Russell High School graduate came to Georgetown having never run cross country. He decided to join the team and has been leading the way all season as a sophomore. He showed his medal this past week's race when he set a personal best while having to stop and tie his shoe.
"This week it got even better," Garnett said. "He destroyed his personal best by more than a minute. Guess not having to stop is a good thing.
"My goal for him was 27 minutes 30 second this year. Friday he was at 27:33. I knew he had this race in him, and I'm so excited that he finally found it in himself. He has moved into 21st place in 8,000-meter race as a Tiger."
Austin Snider continued to see an uptick in his running with a new season best 28:08, passing 10 runners in the final three-fourths of the race.
Zane Bryan, Ben Peterson and Grant Carr rounded out the scorers and finished under 30 minutes. Bryan had a personal best and Peterson was just off his by a few seconds. All three maintained or improved their individual standing throughout the race.
Erick Mills and Cody Cooper rounded out the Georgetown runners on the course. Garnett said Mills is getting back to his freshman year form, when an ankle injury derailed his progress. Cooper finished with a personal record and has shaved nine minutes off his 8,000-meter time since the opening race in Berea.
"I couldn't be more proud of all these guys for their heart and fight," Garnett said. "It could be easy at any point this season to just get frustrated and maybe become individually focused. Not this team. They understand to be strong as individuals, they must be strong together. They keep working and pushing each other. This was a great race at the right moment for these guys."
Just like the men, the women went seven for seven in the season best department with four new personal records.
Julia Manning blazed the trail for a season best and third fastest time of her career as Karina Egger continues to push her from the two spot for the Tigers. For the second time in three races, the junior destroyed her personal record, cracking under the 20-minute mark.
"This dynamic duo has now moved into the 12th and 15th place in all-time rankings for a Tiger in a 5,000-meter race," Garnett said. "That's looking back some 30-plus years. This has been exciting to watch."
Sutton Godar, Maddie Elder and Kater Riddle round out the scoring harriers. Godar ran her fastest time in over two years, while Elder and Riddle beat their own personal records.
"Maddie had a very special race," Garnett said. "The freshman did not let the large pack temper the way she runs, passing 90 runners from the 600-meter mark to the finish line – easily the best race of her career."
Courtney Lee and Jenny Wilson rounded out the finishers. Lee earned a new personal record and Wilson cracked under 30 minutes for just the second time as a Tiger.
Georgetown returns to the course return to the course Saturday in the USCB Sand Shark Invitational.