FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - On Saturday the NC Wesleyan Cross Country teams traveled to Methodist University to compete in the 1st invitational of the season and the men finished the day with their 1st win of the season.
"The day started off great with the weather and a clear sky," said head coach Marshall Leonard. "This course is the most difficult course we will face this season," he stated. "The middle miles were all up hill and was very challenging for this part of the season."
The men beat out conference rival Methodist by 3 points, 26-29.
In the men's race, sophomore Connor Hayes, who is on the All-Academic team for the USA South, ran a great race and finished in 3rd place with an 8K time of 29:18. Hayes said "it was a difficult course, but I felt great."
Freshman Enock Ruto from Kenya also ran in his first race in the United States and represented NC Wesleyan well as he ran a time of 29:57 and finished just behind Hayes in 4th place. Junior college transfer Andrew Bowen, junior college runner-up national champion, finished in 5th place with a time of 30:17.
USA South ALL- Conference runner, junior Christian Tippette, continued to show why he is one of the top runners in the conference by running a time of 30:47 and finishing in 8th place. Sophomore Maleik Small, a college transfer from Louisburg College, showed how talented of a runner he is by finishing in 11th place with a time of 32:34 while sophomore Terenthen Parker was just behind him in 12th place with a time of 32:35. Wesleyan had 9 of the top 15 placers on the day.
"I have high expectations for our men's team, and we did well today," commented Leonard "We are a lot better than that we showed today."
"We have a runner in Philly Barungi, a Uganda native, that ran 98% of the race great but did not finish the last bit as well as we wanted," continued Leonard. "We have a talented team that can do big things this season if they do the right things in practice."