HIGH POINT, N.C.- The NC Wesleyan men's cross country team placed 14th out of 18 teams at the mostly D1 VertKross Invitational hosted by High Point on Friday. The Bishop men defeated D1 UNC-Wilmington, D2 Claflin University, and D3 Peace University among others in the meet. They also fell by just a few points to D2 Coker and D1 Longwood as well.
Sophomore Christian Tippette led the Bishops placing 63rd overall out of 157 with a time of 27:47 in the 8K.
Head Coach Marshall Leonard commented that, "Tippette continued his progress as he is getting back into his racing form. He is constantly knocking time off every week and looks to keep that up for at least 2 more races."
Freshman Connor Hayes then finished 2nd on the team and 104th overall with a time of 29:43 while fellow freshman Thomas Guadelupe-Johnson finished right behind him in 29:45. Freshman Keyonte Williams then was 4th on the team and 124th overall with a time of 31:51. Freshman Jeshon Smith then completed the scoring finishing in a time of 32:02 in 127th place.
Leonard said that "Today we raced on a course that had 2 hills on each lap totaling 8 hills for the race, and this was new to the team. Last weekend we ran a course that was completely flat in Disney. Sometimes the times do not improve because of the tougher course, but we are looking for strong effort, attacking the course, and not backing down to a challenge. I saw that with some of our runners and that made me proud.
"We have to now change our focus to Championship season mode, and being aggressive every second of the race. We now have a standard of what we expect for ourselves personally and as a team. It means a lot to us to make everyone proud of our XC team, and we hear the chatter around campus. We appreciate all the kind words that we hear from administration and classmates. Our athletes run harder because of it," finished Coach Leonard.
East Tennessee St. won the Invite while Coastal Carolina finished runner-up. Nadeel Wildschutt won the invite for Coastal Carolina in a time of 24:10.
The men are next in action when they run at the USA South Conference Championships on Oct. 26 from Maryville College.