THE FLATS – Georgia Tech women’s and men’s cross country placed third and 12th at the Penn State National Open on Friday afternoon in University Park, Pa.
Head coach, Alan Drosky reflects on the women’s race, “It was another outstanding performance for the women in a loaded field of quality teams. This was our first outing since we were ranked nationally this season and the women solidified that ranking today. Two important things to note are that we had two women finish in the top ten in a very highly competitive field, and that we had the rest of our top seven finish within fifty-five seconds of our first runner. When a team can do that you are going to do very well. So a huge congrats to the women, they are getting stronger and more confident with every meet.”
The No. 26 ranked women finished third overall out of 27 teams with a total of 143 points and an average time of 21:10 in the 6k. The men placed 12th in a field of 20 teams, tallying 273 points and an average time of 25:57 in the 8.67k mile race.
Drosky continues, “We were very pleased with the men’s effort today. I think we’re flying under the radar right now, so to speak. They’re getting better every week and they are learning to execute as a team. The twelfth-place finish today doesn’t tell the whole story. We’re closing the gap quickly on a lot of teams ahead of us. Literally ten seconds a man and we’re in the top five today. It’s that close, and that’s where our focus is right, moving forward.”
Hana Herndon led the women finishing eighth, clocking a time of 20:50 for her second top-10 finish of the season. Senior Mary Prouty placed ninth (20:53), followed by Amy Ruiz coming in 27th with a time of 21:11. Rounding out the top-50, sophomore Nicole Fegans placed 37th (21:18). Overall the women finished ahead of No. 27 Utah and No. 29 Princeton.
On the men’s side, senior Avery Bartlett led the Jackets for the second time this season finishing 29th (25:38) shaving almost two minutes off his previous career-best in the 8.67k. Following Bartlett, Andrew Kent came in 36th finishing with a time of 25:44. Christian Bowles (26:08) and Matt McBrien (26:14) recorded new personal bests finishing in the top-100 of more than 200 runners.
For the first time this season, Tech men finished ahead of a nationally ranked team. The White and Gold defeated No. 27 Iona who placed 13th behind the Jackets.
Tech travels back to Jamaica Plains, Mass. for the ACC Championship Friday, Oct. 26. The Jackets competed on the same course at the Battle in Beantown late September. The women’s race begins at 10 a.m. while the men’s race is slated for 11 a.m.