GREENVILLE, N.C. - On Friday the NC Wesleyan Cross Country teams traveled to Lake Kristie, located in Grimsley, NC, to run in a Division 1 race hosted by East Carolina. The race was highlighted by ACC teams such as Duke and N.C. State as well as other top teams like Coastal Carolina, Richmond, ECU, and Elon. N.C. Wesleyan was one of two D3 cross country teams invited to participate in an invitation only race.
"The race conditions were perfect as the temperature was 65 degrees and clear skies. Having an outdoor sport, this was a perfect conditions to run long distance races." said coach Marshall Leonard.
The men followed the women's race and they kept up the momentum of great performances. The men's race was full of 145 talented D1 runners. Every male that raced had a personal best time and was led by sophomore Connor Hayes who is now the 2nd fastest runner ever at NC Wesleyan who finished in 67th place (27:02), followed by junior Andrew Bowen 69th place (27:10 Personal best), junior Christian Tippette 71st (NCWC PR of 27:18), freshman Philly Barungi 78th place (27:58 Personal Best time) and sophomore Maleik Small Who finished 109th with a personal best of 28:07. These runners wrapped up the scoring, but the rest of the team pushed those guys with fast times and personal best times. Sophomore Terenthen Parker ran his best time of the season with a 28:47, sophomore Keyonte Williams ran a new personal best time of 29:07, freshman Manny Tekelemarian ran a personal best of 29:57, Jeshon Smith 30:03, and junior Tyler Bird ran a 30:15.
"As a coach we love to see these times. It means they are working hard at practice and they are applying it in races, having this many guys to run this fast makes it difficult for me to decide who will be the 7 runners that will run at the NCAA Regionals," said Leonard. "But that is a great problem to have."
"The men went out with a game plan and they mostly followed it. We did great, but we still have a lot of room for improvement," said Leonard. "We are a young team that has constantly gotten better every race, and as a coach, we want to see them race better every week, and we are seeing that. At NCWC, we have athletes that want to be hall of fame athletes, and they practice every day to get there. Our future is bright and I am proud to be part of something so great."
Wesleyan will next be competing when they return home to host the USA South Championship here in Rocky Mount on Nov. 2 from their on-campus trail. The meet begins at 11 am for the women and Noon for the men.