Cross Country Season Wraps Up at USA South Championship Meet

Sarah Grossman, Coach Marshall Leonard, & Tyler Bird
Sarah Grossman, Coach Marshall Leonard, & Tyler Bird

Tallulah Falls, Ga. - The NCWC men's and women's cross country teams wrapped up their respective seasons on Saturday at the USA South Championship Meet hosted by Piedmont College. Both the men's and women's crowns were won by league newcomer Berea College.

The Bishops battled wet and muddy conditions during their events after a night and morning of constant rain continued into both races. 

The women's team ran first and set the tone for the day with an outstanding performance that saw every runner on the team post a personal best time. Junior Sarah Grossman turned in Wesleyan's best performance in the 6K event with a time of 29:27, which is a 3-minute improvement over her time from last season's league meet on the same course. She was followed closely by freshman Maria Gaspar (30:55), who finished just ahead of fellow first-year runners Samantha Valeros (31:37) and Kaitlin Frasier (32:58). Junior Hannah Ivester rounded out NCWC's scorers with a time of 34:38, which is a 2-minute improvement from her performance in the championship meet last year. Picked to finish 13th in the USA South preseason poll, Wesleyan's women managed an 11th-place showing among 15 teams.

In the men's 8K race, Wesleyan was led by Carlos Clinton with a personal-best time of 31:38 to finish in 34th place. Clinton was followed by a group of his teammates that worked together throughout the race: Tyler Bird (34:32), Maximo Bompart (35:27), Isaiah Matta (36:02), and Nicholas Dodero (37:22).  Picked to finished 10th in the USA South preseason poll, the Bishop men tallied an 8th-place billing out of 11 teams with solid performances from every runner. 

Said head coach Marshall Leonard, "This was a solid performance for a first-year men's team. They have worked hard to create a new and solid program."

In addition to the races, the Bishops and their opponents were treated to an awards banquet that saw Grossman and Bird honored as members of the USA South All-Sportsmanship Team.