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Tech Women Finish Second, Men Finish Fourth at Penn State National Open

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech cross country had a strong showing at the Penn State National Open placing second on the women’s side and fourth on the men’s side.

“From top to bottom, we did a really good job executing our race plans today. Both teams showed a lot of patience in letting the race unfold early, then chasing people down over the last half. They are fit and finding their groove, and the result was the improvement we needed to see,” Head Coach Alan Drosky said about the results.

Nicole Fegans crossed first for all women with a time of 20:41.9. This is the second time this year Fegans has won a race. She is no stranger to finishing on top of the podium after she became the ACC Champion in the 10k at the 2021 Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Fegans was the lead runner for much of the race. At the 1200m mark, she was 0.1 seconds behind the lead runner before she took over the top spot and never looked back leading by three seconds at the 4800m mark and winning by 8.2 seconds.

The women’s side placed second overall buoyed by Fegans’ performance but rounded out with a stellar group of runners. Claire Moritz finished fifth (21:10.4) with an impressive kick jumping 11 spots in the final 1200 meters. Sarah Copeland continued her eye-opening freshman campaign finishing 12th (21:19.8) and first among true freshman. Liz Galarza came in 26th (21:49.5) showing her strong endurance improving 15 spots over the race. In the pertinent fifth spot, Katy Earwood rounded out the scorers placing 40th (22:19.6). Moritz, Copeland and Earwood all set new PRs in the 6k.

“Congrats to Nicole on a great win over some really talented women. She looked relaxed and in control of every part of her race today. That was a huge effort for Claire and Sarah is getting the experience she needs. The back part of our line-up is coming around too,” Drosky added about the women’s team’s performance.

James Cragin finished fourth (25:35.0) among the men at the event. There was a lead pack that started to thin as the race progressed but Cragin kept up the pace. At the 1200m mark, there were 30 runners within three seconds of first. At the 3100m mark, it dropped to 25 runners that close to first. The top finishers began to take shape at the 5000m mark when a group of 11 were within one second of first. At the 7200m mark, the lead pack thinned to four runners, including Cragin. The lead pack of four stayed true until the very end with Cragin pulling out the fourth-place finish individually helping carry the men’s team to the fourth-place finish at the event.

“I think today was a good day for the men. We were a bit disappointed in our performance at Roy Griak and today we ran much smarter moving up well in the back half of the race. It was a good confidence booster going into conference and we all know we still have more to give,” Cragin said about the men’s team’s performance.

Smart running was a key tactical point for the Jackets at this meet after the Roy Griak Invitational. The team consistently lost places at the meet and wanted to show the performance in Minnesota was a fluke. At the 1200m mark, the team was sixth. By the 5000m mark, the team had climbed to fourth. Zach Jaeger was the second to cross (26:26.0) for Tech finishing 25th improving 10 spots in the final stretch. Henrik Anderson crossed third (26:26.4) for the Yellow Jackets improving five spots. Nick Nyman finished 31st (26:30.9) improving one spot in the final stretch. To round out the scorers, Jack Voss improved eight spots over the final stretch to finish 39th (26:52.3).

“James came into his own today, looking great the whole way. He went to the lead and pressed the pace just after half-way, whittling the lead pack down to four.  The rest of the guys fought well over the last two miles. And even though we didn’t close as much as we needed, we come out of the race knowing we’re moving in the right direction, ” Drosky said.

This is the final meet for Tech cross country before ACC Championships in South Bend, Ind. on Friday, Oct. 29.

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