The MC Cross Country team has had a successful season. Throughout the season they have met team goals and expectations, and many individual team members have beat personal bests and set school records with the help of the team.
Emily Guillaume, junior, said, “I think we have a really strong team, and in competitive nature, it is one of the strongest teams we’ve ever had.”
On Nov. 4, the cross country team traveled to Greensboro, NC for their second to last race of the season, the All-USA South Championship. The men’s team placed third out of the six institutions that competed with Sean Hagstrom in second place, AJ Trotter in eleventh, David Sturchio in 12th, Ben Davis in 22nd place and Max Nopola in 30th. Team members Trotter and Sturchio were awarded All-USA South Honors.
The women’s team also placed third with Guillaume in first place, Camilla Loggins in 19th, Ashlyn Kittrell in 28th, Makayla May in 33rd, Emily Davis in 34th and Taylor Huskey in 35th.
Individual members set new school records this season. On Oct. 18 at the Berry Invitational, Hagstrom, sophomore, placed 24th out of 85 runners, setting a new school record for an 8K with a time of 27:19.50. At the Sewanee Invitational on Sept. 6, Guillaume finished second among the 74 runners and set a new school record with a 6K time of 23:48.91.
In many ways, this season has been one of reaching new potentials and gaining experience for the cross country team. Cross country head coach Tyson Murphy explained that for the men’s team, one of the main focuses has been helping the new, less experienced members reach their potential and “find success.” The team gained four new freshman members, only one of which had extensive cross country experience in high school. Murphy said of the men’s team, “We exceeded my expectations of this team’s potential this season.” He explained that towards the end of the season the new members really began to contribute.
For the women’s team, Murphy said they have been trying to prepare the new team members for next season when the team will be losing over half of their members to graduation. Murphy said they will be losing “seniors that are athletic performers, leaders and seniors that have found a way to contribute even if they are not the fastest runner on the team,” and that “It’s going to be tough to not have them.”
He explained that it may take the team all of next season to replace the current senior team members’ roles.
The graduating seniors for the women’s team include Jenny Baker, Emily Davis, Ashley Ferris, Catherine Hatfield, Taylor Huskey, Ashlyn Kittrell, Emma Slaymaker and Mary Beth Spitler. The men’s team will graduate David Sturchio.
Coach Murphy explained that next season the cross country team will continue to grow and improve. Guillaume said, “More so than any other year, in high school or college, I’ve really felt the pull of the team… There’s a really, really strong team component that I guess I always knew existed, but I had never believed and never really felt until this season. That really hit me more this season than any other season, and I‘ll be sad to see it end.”