The Oglethorpe men's cross country team finished third at the UNG Invitational in Oakwood, Georgia, Saturday, marking an excellent performance against a field filled with Division II and NAIA competition. The Stormy Petrels came in with a time of two hours, 27 minutes and 29 seconds, just four minutes behind second-place Shorter and six behind first-place SCAD. The women's cross country team had several solid performances, as well, as the Petrels look to head into the second half of their season.
On the men's side, the squad was led once again by freshman Nick Evans, who put together his third great race in a row. He finished ninth overall and first among Division III runners (with Covenant the other D3 team in the race), putting up an 8-kilometer time of 28 minutes, 44.5 seconds. That mark also put him fifth among all freshmen in the race.
"Nick was very aggressive early and positioned himself well to reach the ninth-place finish," said Oglethorpe head coach Kirk Shellhouse. "He did a great job battling other runners around him and keeping the focus on the simple task of racing those guys."
Fellow freshman Jonathan Vernon also had an outstanding race, finishing 14th overall with a time of 29:15.7. That put him second among Division III runners and seventh among all freshmen.
"I thought today was a great bounce-back race for Jonathan that greatly helped our team to the finish we had," said Shellhouse. "His aggression in the beginning, and his ability to compete during the middle of the race, allowed him to place well overall."
On the women's side, the Petrels had two runners finish among the top five Division III runners at the race. Freshman Hava Stenn finished 23rd overall with a time of 20 minutes, 44 seconds in the 5-kilometer women's race. That time put her third among Division III runners and sixth among all freshmen. Her time also now sits eighth all-time in the school's 5-kilometer record book.
"I thought today was a good showing by Hava and she overcame some adversity with our team dealing with some illness," said Shellhouse. "Her ability to stay consistent and fight through the race allowed her to set a top 10 OU 5K time. This is the third straight week that Hava has led our women's team and I am excited to see what she can do in her next race."
Fellow freshman Glenda Tutt finished 31st overall in the 5K in 21:06. That placed her fifth among Division III runners and 10th among all freshmen.
"I'm very proud of how Glenda ran today with a bit of illness keeping her from full training this week," said Shellhouse. "She did an amazing job moving up later in the race and getting in position for a good finish. I am excited to see how much she can progress this year."
Both Petrel cross country teams will be back in action on Oct. 8, as they'll head to Tallulah Falls, Georgia, for the Piedmont Invitational.