By Taylor Adams, Staff Writer
The Paladin cross country teams competed in the Southeastern Regionals at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, Va. on Friday, November 13.
Both squads had fairly high expectations coming off their third straight Southern Conference Championships.
However, the region in which the Paladins compete is regarded by many to be among the toughest in the country. The Furman men took many by surprise last year in claiming a second place finish while also securing a spot for the National Championships. The top two teams receive automatic bids in each region with 13 at-large bids given out.
Junior Allie Buchalski also qualified for the National Championships in 2014, representing the women’s team at the U.S. level.
This year proved much of the same for Buchalski. The junior earned an impressive time of 20:40.2 in the 6K race, good for fourth overall to send her back to the National Championships. Buchalski also earned all-region honors with her performance.
Also running for the women’s team was Buchalski’s teammate, junior Laura Miller who finished with a time of 22:24.0 to finish in 56th place.
While the men do not sit in the comfortable spot they did last year, the race certainly proved that the Paladin team is among the best in the nation. Led by junior Tanner Hinkle with an overall time of 29:56.8, the Furman men placed fourth as a team. Following right behind Hinkle was sophomore Frank Lara with an overall time of 29:59.8 and sophomore Aaron Templeton with a time of 30:00.6.
Hinkle’s performance was good enough to earn him a spot on the men’s all-region team.
Even though the team did not lock up an automatic berth for National Championships, the Paladins were selected as an at-large team to compete in the final race of the year.
The National Championships will be held in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 21. The Furman men hope to join Buchalski to excel in the most competitive race of the year.
The cross country program has certainly enjoyed much recent success. Consecutive appearances at the National Championships for both the men and women could only add to Furman’s reputation as a premier destination for runners across the nation.
Furman Cross Country Coach Robert Gary spoke to furmanpaladins.com about the team’s recent success. “I am very proud of our entire program…Advancing to the NCAA Championships is extremely hard, especially since we compete in one of the toughest regions on one of the nation’s toughest courses,” he said.