LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.- On Saturday morning the NC Wesleyan cross country teams ran in the Disney classic on the ESPN campus at Disney World. The men placed 10th out of 16 teams in the meet that consisted of D1, D2, and NAIA teams while the women placed 23rd.
The college races were the 1st races of the day in beautiful 70 degree weather as the day was full of high school and middle school races. The excitement around the races was electric with TV cameras and big screens all over the property as it was broadcast on ESPN3.com.
Coach Marshall Leonard said, "It was great to see local Florida product freshman Terenthen Parker see his family and friends while the teams had a chance to see the course on Friday afternoon and come into the morning prepared to have fun and take care of business."
On the Men's side, the team was lead by Sophomore Christian Tippette (who moved up to the all-time #2 spot at Wesleyan) with a 44th place finish and a season best time of 28:06. He was followed by Parker who ran a personal-best of 28:41 and a place of 60th out of 140 runners. After Parker, it was freshman Connor Hayes who finished next for the Bishops in 66th place and a time of 28:59. Freshman Thomas Guadelupe-Johnson then finished in 76th place with a personal-best time of 29:35. The #5 scorer was freshman Keyonte Williams who ran a personal best of 31:07 (and moved up on NC Wesleyan's top 10 list to #8). NCWC's 6th male, Jeshon Smith, finished with a personal best of 31:40 (and moved up to #10 on NC Wesleyan top 10 list)
The men's team beat 1 D1 , 4 D2 and 1 D3 team en route to their 10th place finish. "The guys are continuing to show improvement as we start the 2nd half of our season," said Leonard.
The women were led by senior Sarah Grossman who continues to have the best season of her college career. She came in with a time of 25:17, followed by Alyssa Donaldson with a personal best time of 25:55. Behind her was Ali Cucinotta who ran her personal best of 26:35. The top 5 were finished out by Hannah Ivester (31:20) and Hana Funadaiku (31:31).
After the race, the team continued their trip by going to Magic Kingdom.
"For some of our athletes it was their first time to the park and they were excited for the new experience," said Leonard. "We are very lucky to have the support from a great athletic director in Aaron Denton and President Dr. Clark who afforded us this opportunity. With their support, we believe our program can and will compete with the best of them."
Next week the teams are racing in High Point at the VertCross in Kernersville, as this will be the last regular season race before they head into the Championships phase of racing. This race will be a 5K for women and men.