Cross country notches a pair of top-five finishes in Boone
Hirko (left), Jalovy (right)
Hirko (left), Jalovy (right)

Friday, October 18, 2013

ETSU gains momentum heading into the Atlantic Sun Championship in two weeks

BOONE, N.C. (Oct 18, 2013) – Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams recorded fifth-place overall finishes Friday afternoon in the Blue Ridge Open at State Farm Course on the Appalachian State University campus.

In the final tune-up before the Atlantic Sun Championship in two weeks, the Buccaneers performed well in a loaded field of competition in Boone. The Blue and Gold entered the meet a little banged up on the injury front but were still able to get strong performances from their competing student-athletes.

The women started things off on the day and were paced, as they have been all season, by Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.).The sophomore raced to a time of 18:01.54 in the 5K, good for fourth place overall at the meet. The native Pennsylvanian has been the Bucs top finisher in all four races this season and is averaging a top-10 finish through four meets.

The top-two finishes for the women unfolded much like it has all season with Chelsea Clark (Fairmont, W.Va.) backing Hirko, this time in 41st place overall with a time of 19:13.98. The aforementioned runners were joined in the top 55 overall by freshman Victoria Hutchens (Stuart, Va.) with a time of 19:22.49. Three consecutive ETSU competitors occupied places 61-63 including Lisa Pallotta (Leesburg, Va.) with a collegiate-best time of 19:30.13, Jessica Palmer (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) with a time of 19:30.28 and Carmen Hilliard (Oak Island, N.C.) with a collegiate-high 19:31.20 time.

“Katie led the way with a nice fourth-place finish,” said ETSU Director of Track & Field/Cross Country George Watts, “and Victoria had her best race of the season.”

The best five scores added up to 197 points for the Bucs, good for a fifth-place team finish. This top-five finish is the best of the season for the women in a highly-competitive field of competition. Furman took first overall with a score of 45, while host Appalachian State secured second place with 64 points. The next closest was Coastal Carolina in third place with 136 points.

“Our women had their best team race of the season,” said Watts. “Our spread between our top five was the best of the season and more importantly only a 17-second gap between our second and sixth runners.”

Looking to build off of the momentum established by the women, the men did their best to duplicate it. Pacing the Bucs was junior Filip Jalovy (Modrice, Czech Republic) in 24th place overall with a time of 25:19.74 in the 8K. Sean Duffy (Jonesborough, Tenn.) followed with a collegiate-best 25:30.51 time and a 35th-place overall standing. Joining the above-mentioned runners in the top 51 overall was Anders Ludvigsen (Odense, Denmark) in 41st with a time of 25:35.60, Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) in 44th with a collegiate-best time of 25:38.66 and James Miller (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) rounding out the top 51 with a collegiate-high 25:44.88 time.

“I was very happy with Sean, Simeon and James,” said Watts. “They ran very nice races and came through for the team today.”

Senior Desmond Pierce (Morristown, Tenn.) followed in 72nd place overall with a time of 26:02.09. Ailing senior Adam Chase (Kingsport, Tenn.) snuck into the top 85 overall with an 84th-place finish and a 26:15.90 time, while Angus Baldwin (Tumbi Umbi, Australia) trailed in 95th with a time of 26:31.27. Dylan Harper (Pikeville, Tenn.) and Thomas Miller (Lithonia, Ga.) wrapped things up for the Bucs with placements of 107th and 166th overall, respectively.

The top-five scores for the Blue and Gold tallied up to 160 points for the men, good for a fifth-place overall team finish. Host Appalachian State took the crown with 102 points, while Cedarville followed in second with a score of 118 and George Mason rounded out the top three with 124 points.

“Our men’s team ran solid but there is much room for improvement,” said Watts. “Three of our top five struggled for a variety of reasons. We need to get them back to their early-season form.”

Both teams will look to hang on to this momentum over a two-week period as each squad is off next week in preparation for the Atlantic Sun Championship on Saturday, Nov. 2, in Nashville, Tenn.

“We have some work to do as we prepare for the conference championship,” said Watts. “The kids have worked very hard and now we have to pull it together and have our best race in 15 days.”

For more information about ETSU cross country please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the cross country links.

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