GREENVILLE, SC September 15, 2013 – The College of Charleston; men’s and women’s cross country teams continued their strong start to the 2013 season on Saturday, at the inaugural Furman Cross Country Classic, in Greenville, S.C.
Competing against some of the nation’s premier programs, the Cougar women finished the day in seventh place, while the men, led by junior Mackenzie Johnston (Hilton Head S.C.) – who broke the men’s 8K school record – also finished in seventh.
The talent-laden Cougars, coming off a fantastic showing at Carolina Challenge, posted top-ten finishes on both the men’s and women’s side for the second consecutive meet.
“I’m proud of how our group raced today,” said head coach Amy Seago. “Obviously, the goal is for everyone to have a great race on the same day, which of course, doesn’t always happen. Today, the men and women did a great job – top to bottom. I’m proud of them.”
The men – fresh off a second place performance in the season opener – performed well again. They were led by Johnston, who dominated the looping 2K course, finishing with a school-record time of 24 minutes, 51.18 seconds.
Complimenting Johnston’s big day was Adam Seften (Bolton, Conn.), finishing with a time of 24:59.85. Seften’s time was also good enough to break the previous school record and the junior now finds himself second on the all-time list.
“It was a great day for Mackenzie,” said Seago, “but it was a team effort and I’m very proud the effort we put forth. The guys did well running in a pack and certainly showed some depth. I think Alex Couch, Josh Tierney and Tyler Wood all performed well and showed considerable improvement. The guys are really responding to their work-outs and coach Jason Bryan has done a good job of getting them to show on race day.”
On the women’s side, Trish Rein (Philadelphia, Pa.) led the Cougars with a time of 21:57.94. Rein has started the season in great form, adding depth to a team who has been forced to begin the season without some of their top performers.
“Trish proved her last race was no fluke,” said Seago. “She essentially turned in a 40 second 5K PR in the midst of the 6K race. She’s been very solid for us so far.”
Also performing admirably for the women were Hayley McMahon (North Massapequa, N.Y.), Carlee Cassidy, Danielle Sams (Goose Creek, S.C. ) and Mary Kate Brelsford (Ocean City, N.J.) who finished in 30, 37, 50 and 65th place, respectively, out of the 137 participating student-athletes.
“The women executed their race plans very well”, said Seago. “Hayley (McMahon) did exactly what I told her, but I take responsibility for sending her out too fast. She ran a very tough race considering she ran it the hard way, and I have no doubts in my mind that she is fit and will turn in a fast 5K time with a more conservative start.”
The looping European style course at Furman, littered with logs and hay bales, offered the Cougars some unique obstacles and gave the women their first look at the 6K distance they will be running throughout CAA conference competition.
The Cougars head next to the Towson Invitational, in Towson, Md., on Saturday Sept. 21 at Oregon Ridge Park.