ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - The NC Wesleyan men's and women's cross country teams hosted their inaugural home meet on Saturday on the brand new NCWC course that intertwined with the school's walking trail. The meet was the USA South Preview called the NC Wesleyan Classic. The meet hosted a total of 11 teams, with 4 of the schools being Division 2, and 7 of them USA South Conference competitors.
"The weather was perfect for a home meet and every team was excited to run on the future conference championships course." said Head Coach Marshall Leonard.
The men ended up taking first for their second win of the season beating out Div. II Barton College by 23 points. The Lady Bishops then placed 2nd, their highest of the year as they finished just 11 points behind Meredith College.
Freshman Andrew Bowen paced the Bishops as he finished 3rd overall with a time of 28:16 in the 8K.
The men ran the 2nd race, an 8K. The course consisted of 2 laps around the campus walking trail. The men's race was just as exciting as the women's race and we saw the men's top 5 runners run as a tight group for the 1st four miles before they started to separate from each other as they raced to the finish line. Junior Andrew Bowen (28:16) led the men with his third place finish and was followed closely by his talented teammates who all finished in the top 10. they include: freshman Philly Barungi (28:28-6th), junior Christian Tippette (28:33-7th), freshman Enock Ruto (28:48-8th), and sophomore Connor Hayes (28:56-9th).
This group was followed by a solid and talented remaining men's roster led by sophomore Maleik Small (30:07-13th), sophomore Keyonte Williams (30:32-16th), freshman Menwuyelet Tekelemariam (31:17-19th), junior Tyler Bird (31:20-20th), freshman Mamoon Hassan (32:00), sophomore Jeshon Smith (32:13), junior Carlos Clinton (35:22), and sophomore Raquan Harris (39:44).
"I am pleased with how we ran as a group, and how we finished with a win," said Coach Leonard. "To be a championship level team we need to continue to progress like we have, and improve in a variety of areas. We will discuss those issues on Monday, but we will celebrate taking a 1st place trophy until then."
The women raced a 6k first and saw freshman Cedara Franklin (27:55) lead the NCWC team, with Snejana Spinache (28:08) close behind. The 2 freshmen women ran hard and close to each other throughout the race. Junior Hayley Sheehan (29:18) was close behind and followed by freshmen Teanna Bellamy (29:19) and Sinai Ashe-Lee (30:48) to wrap up the scoring for the team. Wrapping up the women's team were sophomores Alyssa Donaldson (34:26), Michelle Sackey-Ansah (36:46) and junior Deja Hartman. Today's race saw multiple women run new personal bests leading to a quality 2nd place finish for the ladies.
"As a team we are continuing to improve and run better. We love that we are seeing some success and we will celebrate this until Monday's practice. We will then work on how we can continue to be better runners." Coach leonard.
The NC Wesleyan XC teams will next race at the Queen City Invitational in Charlotte next Friday night that will consist of mostly D1 and D2 colleges.
"I love challenging my teams against supposedly more talented runners. If we work hard daily at practice, we will always have a chance against anyone." commented coach Leonard.