Harrison Turner ‘22

Sports Writer

Setting the Pace: Runners Jake Carver ‘21 (right) and Max Pearson ‘22 (left) pace off each other during a meet. Both runners posted top times for the ‘Cats at the Louisville meet. Photo courtesy of  Gavin McFarland; Davidson Sports and Information

The men’s and women’s cross country teams have already competed in two meets to start off their fall 2019 campaign, experiencing mixed results. First, on the weekend of September 20th, the ‘Cats ran in the Adidas XC Challenge hosted by North Carolina State. The women’s team finished fourth out of nine, while the men placed third out of ten total schools. 

The women were led by talented freshman Natalie Abernathy ‘23 and her 21st place finish at 18:14.4 in the 5K effort. She was followed by six of her teammates who all finished in the low to mid thirties (Kelsey Troutman ‘23 at 30th, Rachel Shapiro ’22 at 32nd, Maddie Hunter ’20 at 34th, Paige Mckinney ‘20 at 35th, and Susannah Cate ‘20 at  36th). This tallied up to a total of 105 points leading to a fourth place finish, a solid showing for the girls in their season opener. 

The men were led by their strong group of sophomores, including top finisher Colin Ross ‘22, who made his way through the 6k course at 18:36.1. Classmates George Lewis ‘22 (18:38) and Max Pearson ’22 (18:45.2) also tallied great times, scoring big for the ‘Cats. Raphael Oettl ‘22 and Trent Turbyfill ‘22 rounded out the team’s top five scorers, placing the ‘Cats at 95 points and the third place finish.

Both the men’s and women’s teams enjoyed solid contributions from underclassmen in their first meet.

In the program’s second meet of the fall, the men and women travelled to Louisville, Kentucky to participate in the Louisville Classic. With a larger field, the women finished 23rd out of 39, while the men finished 27th out of 41. Although the team’s performance this round was a little more disappointing, some individuals really stood out. 

For the women, Hunter finished at the top for the ‘Cats posting a time of 18:16.2, improving her time tremendously from the first meet. Abernathy finished second at 18:24.5 followed by Cate (18:38.6), Mckinney (18:42.8), and Anna Kathryn Kilby ‘22 (18:55.7) to round out the ‘Cats scoring. 

“We’ve had a solid start to the year and are looking to make some more improvements as we get closer to conference. We have an incredibly talented freshman class who adds a level of intensity and makes our team better,” said Shapiro. 

The men’s course was a little longer this go around as the guys had to run an 8K. They were once again led by Ross, who posted a top 50 overall finish with a time of 24:35.4. Lewis also broke the 25 minute mark with a time of 24:53. Pearson (25:32.1), Jake Carver ‘21 (25:49.0) and Oettl (25:52.7) were the final scorers for Davidson on the weekend. Top-finisher Ross discussed the team’s start to the season and looked ahead to upcoming action.  

“Although the season is just beginning, we’ve got a young group of hardworking guys who are really motivated to see some success this year. We had a fairly good start at NC State and hopefully some good stuff coming this week at Charlotte, then onward to Princeton and George Mason before the postseason.”

As mentioned by Ross, both the men’s and women’s teams will be running in the Royals Cross Country Challenge at Queens University right here in Charlotte this coming weekend as both squads look to build on their strong starts to the season.