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Georgetown College outdoor track and field season is to start – first meet March 24-25 in Lexington, Ky. However, this has not slowed down the Tigers' coach Luke Garnett from working to sign his first commit on the men's team for 2017-18.
Wesley Qualls picked Georgetown over Lindsey Wilson College, Thomas More College, Transylvania University, Wittenburg University and Tennessee Wesleyan College. Along with track and field, he will run cross country.
"Wesley is a solid get for our program," said Garnett. "We are very excited to have him deciding to continue his educational and athletic endeavors at Georgetown.
"He's a great competitor and I know he will push our current guys to reach new heights in our chase for a Mid-South Conference title."
Georgetown College cross country teams celebrated another successful season at the Mid-South Conference banquet Friday. Five Tigers were honored for their hard work not only as athletes, but as students as well.
The league office awards student-athletes of at least sophomore standing with a 3.25 grade point average conference academic honors.
For the second straight year, women's cross country's Sydney Berry earned the honor. Karina Egger received her first academic honors.
Georgetown College cross country runners understand the value of a shoe and for the second straight year the Tigers are helping to extend that for the betterment of the community.
In the second annual shoe drive, coach Lucas Garnett and his teams collected nearly double what it did in 2015 – a portion of which went to a re-use-a-shoe program.
"The manager told me we accounted for about 75 percent of their donations this past year, and he expects the same this year," Garnett said. "They take shoes that are no longer wearable and recycle them for synthetic track and playground surfaces."
The total was 517 a year ago, which was crushed by the mountain of 1002 pairs of shoes donated by the deadline of 2 pm Monday. Justin Downs helped the team reach the 1,000 mark in a unique way.
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."
The dynamic twosome of Georgetown College women's cross country continue to challenge and push each other, helping the Tigers as a whole get stronger. For the fifth race this season Julia Manning finished first for coach Lucas Garnett's women harriers and crossing second was Karina Egger.
"Neither would be doing what they are doing without the other," Garnett said. "In practice and in meets they are helping to push and support each other. They've been one-two for us all season.
"Even more impressive today with Karina is she was running with muscle cramps and had her third fastest time as a Tiger."
The women took seventh in the Fast Cats Classic Saturday in Owensboro, Ky. as did the men.