By Taylor Adams, Staff Writer
On what turned out to be an early preview of a crisp autumn morning, the Furman cross country teams hosted the third annual Furman Cross Country Classic. The event has quickly become an attraction for runners and schools across the Southeast. Many big-name programs such as Clemson, Georgia and Wake Forest turned up for this year’s edition. While the starting lines were packed with runners in both the men’s and women’s races, the Furman athletes quickly separated themselves from the pack by the first kilometer.
The women’s race featured a standout performance by Allie Buchalski, who finished the 6k course with a time of 21:00 to take first place overall honors. Buchalski, a junior, helped lead the women to a third place finish behind only Auburn and Georgia. The Paladin women were also supported by junior Julia Miller’s sixth place finish and sophomore Jacquelyn Crow’s sixteenth place result.
In the men’s race, it was clear that the Furman runners controlled the pace as they formed a tight group in front of the pack. This played out for the duration of the race as they completed laps around the Furman University Golf Course. As it turned out, seven of the first nine finishers were sporting the Furman white and purple singlet. This allowed the Paladins to record a near-perfect score of 16 points, well ahead of second- place Auburn’s 46.
Furman junior Tanner Hinkle took home overall first place with an 8k time of 24:17. Frank Laura, Josh Brickell and Lee Shearer rounded out the top five for Furman. The men certainly built on momentum carried over from last season’s success, one that ended in the squad competing at the National Championships in Terra Haute, Ind.
Furman entered Saturday’s race with a national ranking of 18th, according to the USTFCCCA poll. The Furman women also received votes of consideration in the women’s rankings.
Following the races the Furman men kept their second spot in the Southeast Regional behind Virginia while the women held firm as well in the sixth position.
Both teams will now set their eyes on the Virginia Panorama Farms Invitational, in Charlottesville, Va. in an attempt to build upon an excellent opening display in front of their home fans.