The Lee University cross country teams competed in the Gold Races at the Live in Lou Cross Country Classic Saturday morning at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park. The Flames recorded a second-place finish, while the Lady Flames were 11th.
The Flames placed three runners in the top 23 to finish second with an 8K team time of 2:00:26.40 and a total of 133 points.Grand Valley State was the top team with 104 points. Miami (Ohio) placed third with 150 points. Cincinnati (172) was fourth and in fifth place was Eastern Michigan (186).
Grand Valley State’s Tanner Chada was the individual winner with a time of 23:18.1.
“Our pack running is exceptional,” said Lee head coach Caleb Morgan. “We had a solid good lead on Grand Valley at four miles, they came back hard the final half mile. This was a big day for us. We are happy to have mixed it up well with last year’s national champions.”
Silas Eckenroad and Adan Rodriguez were the first two Lee runners to cross the finish line among the field of 308. Eckenroad was 20th overall with a time of 24:01.1, while Rodriguez was right behind at 24:01.8 (21st). Will Stone (24:03.1) gave Lee three runners in the top 25 with a 23rd-place finish.
Hayden Judge stopped the clock at 24:07.9 for 31st and Matthew Fowler rounded out the Lee scorers at No. 38 (24:12.5). Aaron Himes and Stephen Clark were the spacers. Himes (24:17.1) was 45th and Clark (24:40.5) placed 81st.
Evan Moore’s time of 24:41.5 was good for 84th. Ezekiel Harless finished 108th (24:53.1), while Jacob Hatcher (25:01.2) finished 130th, Jon Fielding Stogner (25:05.9) was 138th, Roberto Fajardo (25:10.9) placed 147th and Caleb Guthery (25:22.2) finished 166th.
The Lady Flames recorded a team time of 1:29:39.10 and amassed 389 points. Furman University claimed the team win with 44 points. West Virginia University was second (92) with Grand Valley State third (132) and UC-Colorado Springs fourth (198).
Aria Hawkins was the top finisher for the Lady Flames. Hawkins crossed the line at 17:44.1 to place 57th out of 378 runners. Ceili McCabe of West Virginia was the individual winner at 16:23.9.
Liza Kellerman stopped the clock at 17:45.6 for 65th.Danielle Horter was 71st overall at 17:53.0. Lily Hare and Megan Adams rounded out the Lee scoring. Hare (18:03.0) finished 95th, while Adams (18:13.4) was 113th. Ashlyn Iliff was Lee’s first spacer at 140th with a time of 18:21.3. Olivia McLain was the second spacer at 173rd (18:34.8).
Phoebe Moran (19:00.3) and Katie Krueger (19:00.8) were 236th and 239th, respectively. Elizabeth Beckham’s time of 19:04.7 put her in 249th. Elizabeth Heckman completed the Lee contingent at 19:29.5 (302nd).
“I am proud of our women,” said Morgan. “This was a tough test for our young squad. We competed well. We have a few things we want to work on moving forward, like running with teammates. Overall, it was a solid weekend.“
The Flames and Lady Flames are scheduled to compete at the UAH Chargers Cross Country Invite on October 22. The 5K race will be held at John Hunt Park in Huntsville, Alabama, and will serve as Lee’s final regular season meet.