The Oglethorpe cross country team competed against a variety of Division I and Division II competition Saturday at the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville, Florida. The men's team finished 14th amongst a field of 24 teams at the event, which was hosted by the University of Florida, while the women did not haven enough runners compete to officially place, but they did have some solid individual performances.
The 14th-place finish from the men's squad came with a total time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 6 seconds, putting them within a minute of 13th-place Florida Tech and more than five minutes ahead of 15th-place Bethune-Cookman. The Petrels beat Division I squads from Bethune-Cookman, Florida Atlantic, Florida International and Jacksonville, as well as a Division II squad from Palm Beach Atlantic.
Freshman Jacob Hadden led the way for Oglethorpe, finishing 63rd overall with a time of 27:25.6. That put him well within the top half of the 200-runner field. Sophomore Mateo Villa did the same with a 67th-place finish, posting a time of 27:27.8. Freshman Oz Faal finished in personal-record time, clocking in at 28:00.4 and finishing 88th. Freshman Bill Lester finished 93rd in 28:03.3, while sophomore Nick Berardi rounded out the Oglethorpe scorers, setting a personal record with 28:08.2 and finishing 99th. Freshman Jackson Reilly also came up with a personal-best time of 28:32.4.
On the women's side, sophomore Hava Stenn led the way for the four-runner squad. She finished in the top half of the almost 300-runner field, recording a time of 20:49.9 in a five-kilometer race. That mark was good enough for a 140th-place finish. Elsewhere, freshman Reagan Goodwin finished in 21:13.6, while junior Kara Jones finished in 21:40.9 and freshman Courtney Stuart came in at 24:25.2
"I thought the men and women did a great job today racing against tough competition that we normally do not see year to year," said Oglethorpe head coach Kirk Shellhouse. "The high humidity and temperature definitely made running conditions difficult for this race. A lot of our runners hung tough and battled throughout the race. There are lots of things to take away from this weekend to help improve us as the year continues."
The Stormy Petrels will now re-enter Division III competition, as they travel just northeast of Atlanta to Demorest for the Piedmont Invitational on Oct. 7. After that, they'll stay in Georgia for the Berry Invitational the following weekend before getting ready for the SAA Cross Country Championships on Oct. 28.