Men and Women Outrun Opponents
This past Saturday, the Emory men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the Gulf Coast Cross Country Stampede in Pensacola, Fla. Both squads dominated the competition, bringing home first place team finishes.
The men came into this meet well-rested, an advantage that paid off. The entire team ran well for a first place finish out of nine teams, beating West Alabama by 24 points. In the absence of junior Edward Mulder, who was the Eagles’ top finished at their last two meets, freshman star Lukas Mees finished first for the Eagles in a time of 26:31, good for fourth place overall.
Mees attributed his good race to the warm weather and flat course.
“It was a great day for a race, a fast course, and we took that opportunity to get some good results,” he said.
Captain Stephen Ellwood had a strong showing with a seventh place overall finish.
“It’s nice to finally be getting back,” Ellwood said. “I hope to be at my best as the team competitions roll around.”
All scorers for the Eagles finished in the top 15, with Alex Fleischhacker finishing in eighth place, Hank Ashforth in 14th, and Cameron Wheeler in 15th.
Assistant Coach Carl Leivers was happy with the team’s performance, but knows there is still much work to be done.
“This was a good effort from the team, but we can’t get complacent,” Leivers said. “It will be crucial that we continue quality training until we enter into our conference and post-season meets.”
The women’s team also captured a first place finish, completing the 5K course in an average time of 19:22.
Leading the Lady Eagles was sophomore Stephanie Crane, who crossed the line in 19:06 for a third place overall finish.
“I feel like this race was a turning point in my season,” Crane said. “Today, I committed myself to being mentally tough and kept a positive attitude the entire 3.1 mile course.”
The remainder of Emory’s top seven finishers completed the course within 30 seconds of Crane. Hannah Moriarty led the pack and was followed by teammates Marissa Gogniat, Tamara Surtees, Elise Viox, Calleson Edwards and Ashley Stumvoll.
Moriarty attributes her strong performance to her focus on incorporating mental training into her racing strategy.
“Coach encourages us to spend time visualizing ourselves succeeding while racing,” she said. “Using mental imagery kept me from breaking down so that I could give my best effort for the entire race.”
Head Coach John Curtin was pleased with his team’s performance this weekend, but is confident that they can run faster.
“This weekend the team showed that they can race together,” he said. “We need to be confident in our pack-running as we begin the larger and more competitive meets of the season.”
Following the race, the men’s and women’s teams enjoyed some much deserved relaxation time at Pensacola Beach. The beach trip was one of the many ways the cross country team has bonded together this season.
This bond is one of the reasons why freshman Julie Williamson is glad that she decided to run for Emory.
“Being on the team has made my transition into college life really easy,” she said. “My teammates have become my second family.”
The Emory Eagles return to action the first weekend of October. Saturday, Oct. 6th, the varsity runners will compete in Terre Haute, Ind. at pre-nationals, which is a preview of the course where the national championships will be held in mid-November.
The remainder of the men’s and women’s teams will race in the Jacksonville State University Invitational in Jacksonville, Ala. on Oct. 5.
— By Megan Hunter