Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cross Country Champs

They knew it would be close. In fact, the Chattanooga women’s cross country team was favored going into the Conference meet this past weekend. In the end, it came down to one point that lifted the Davidson women to first place overall and the title of Conference champions. As they have been all season, the team was led by Brenna Burns ’08 who finished second overall with a time of 17:48.93, a time that set a Davidson school record. She was followed by senior Allie Martin ’06 and Megal Atias ’08 who all finished within the top five finishers at the meet. Freshmen Emily King ’09 and Caroline Sanker finished in 17th and 19th respectively, securing the winning points for the Wildcats. “We knew we all had to bring it together and formulate the perfect race to finish ahead of such an impressive team [in Chattanooga],” said Burns. “We had the goal in mind and everyone did what was necessary to get the job done.” More accolades were added to the Wildcat resume as head coach Jen Straub was tabbed as the Southern Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in four years.
The Southern Conference championship does not mark the ultimate goal for the ’Cats as they now look to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships in Greenville on November 12. After the outstanding performances throughout this season, it stands to reason that Davidson will make a strong showing in those regionals as they will try to earn a spot in the National Championships. “The Conference race made our team so excited for Regionals,” Burns said. “We should expect to go out there and mix it up with nationally ranked teams and make our best Regional showing in Davidson history.”
On the men’s side, Davidson raced to a fourth place finish overall in the conference with their top runner being Lance Harden ’09 who turned in a time of 25:56.07, strong enough for 16th place overall. That time, combined with Harden’s stellar performances throughout the season, earned him the award of Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. Jonathan Baker ’06 and Austin Mercadante ’06 rounded out the top three Wildcat runners. Harden remains a phenomenal story on a team with such strong leadership, as his goals for the season were merely to be eligible to go to the Conference meet in which he ended being the top Davidson runner. “In large part,” says Harden, “I think my individual success and the success of the team can be attributed to the leadership of our two seniors, Austin and Jonathan. They both set the bar high in terms of commitment, and the whole team has fed off of their pacesetting during workouts and races.” Like the women, the men will be able to compete one more time at the regional meet on November 12 where they will look to continue their success and have one more shot at eclipsing their personal bests and leading the Wildcats.

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