By Harini Vakamudi
The Furman University men’s and women’s cross country teams placed first out of nine total collegiate teams at the fortieth annual Gene Mullin Invitational in Greenville, SC.
Graced home-field advantage, the invitational was held on Saturday, Oct. 6 on the Furman University Golf Course. The teams in attendance included eight collegiate men’s teams, nine collegiate women’s teams, 19 high school boys’ varsity and junior varsity teams, and 18 high school girls’ varsity and junior varsity teams.
All races utilized Furman Golf Club’s cross country course for a 5K run. The race was the team’s first meet in three weeks, due to a brief hiatus after flu-like illness swept the team.
Additionally, a cancellation of races allows the team an uninterrupted block of training, since the training routine on the three days prior to a meet is altered to only allow for relatively easy workouts.
Thus, the team could take the three week break to recover from illness and complete several full training routines, each of which spans a week.
But this break might have been just what the team needed, as both the men’s and women’s teams swept up first through fifth places to capture the first place victory.
On the men’s team, Wilkerson Given, a senior from Birmingham, AL, led the men to victory with a first place time of 14:52.77 in the 5K. Tripp Hurt, a sophomore from Bogart, GA, Jack Klecker, a junior from Charlotte, NC, and William Ivey, a sophomore from Columbia, SC, placed first, second, fourth, and fifth respectively in the 5K as well.
For the women, sophomore Sinead Haughey from Central, SC, placed first with a time of 17:45.53 in the 5K, leaving close to a thirty second gap between her and the second place runner, Furman junior Kacie Schoen, from Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Junior Catherine Burton, from Marion, NC, senior Emily Wirzba from Hillsborough, NC and sophomore Emily Zizzi, from Charlotte, NC, took third through fifth, respectively.
Given and Haughey were also named Southern Conference Men’s and Women’s Runners of the week for their outstanding performance in the Gene Mullin Invitational.
This victory bodes well for the NCAA Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky which took place on Saturday, Oct 13, where Haughey grabbed nineteenth in the 6K and led the women to fifth place out of 26 teams in the unseeded race.
Following suit, the men placed tenth out of 24 unseeded teams.
The next meet is the Southern Conference Championship in Mt. Pleasant, SC. The meet is schedule for Oct. 27.