Cross country teams race at ECU invitational

By Kathryn Gambill
Sports Staff Writer
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The UNC Asheville cross country team raced at the East Carolina University Pirates Cross Country Invitational Oct. 13, placing sixth for the women’s 6k run and fourth for the men’s 8k run.
Head Coach Jesse Norman said while there were some unfortunate circumstances for the women’s team, the meet overall was good with some outstanding individual performances.
“The men’s team has some good depth right now that will allow us to have some success come conference championship time,” Norman said.
The men’s team ran an average time of 26:01, placing behind Duke, ECU and Norfolk State.
“On the women’s side, our strongest performances came from Phoebe Schneider and Kelley Coleman,” Norman said. “Both of them had some great breakthroughs that moved them onto our all-time list for the 6k distance. Those performances have moved both of them to be contenders for All-Conference honors at our championships next week, with a similar effort and performance.”
The women’s team ran an average time of 24:20 for their 6k race.
Schneider, a senior management and psychology student, said her time of 22:31 beat her previous 6k record by nearly a minute.
Schneider placed 13 out of 68 runners in her race.
“I felt very prepared for this race and was happy to achieve this time my senior year,” Schneider said.
She said this was a new meet for the team and they had never raced the course. The women’s team is typically accustomed to running the shorter 5k race.
The beginning of the race went smoothly for the women’s team, but Schneider said there are aspects to be improved on.
“We do however need to work on staying together longer and pushing through the difficult parts of the race by relying on one another, remaining confident and working together,” she said.
Hunter Newman, a sophomore student on the men’s cross country team, said even though he injured his foot during the race, the men’s team had a good performance at the meet.
“We ran as a pack very well and our team bonding and chemistry is definitely our strong suit,” Newman said.
The runner said he is more confident than he has ever been.
“We are ready to fight and ready to redeem ourselves from a terrible conference showing last year on our home course,” Newman said. “This is our time and the work we have put in will be put to good use next weekend.”
Coach Norman said the next step for the Bulldogs is to get recovered and mentally prepare for the conference championships.
“With the performances that the teams have had, this could be one of the best finishes for both the men and women’s program in quite a while,” Norman said. “It’s just going to take everyone buying into the team concept and racing for team glory.”
Schneider said she is confident the team will be able to bring it all together and have a successful conference race.
“Despite the fact that we are a small team on the women’s side this year, we have a lot of talent and confidence in one another,” Schneider said. “We have all trained extremely hard this season and I have no doubt that together we are capable of having a very successful conference championships.”