The Emory women’s cross country team traveled up to Chattanooga, Tenn., on Sept. 13 to take on 11 other teams in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) Twilight Cross Country Meet. The Eagles finished with a total of 120 points, resulting in a fifth-place finish among seven non-Division I teams and a ninth-place finish overall.
First across the finish line for the Eagles was senior Heather Beavers, who achieved a 15:51 time in the 4K race, good for 31st place out of 88 runners.
Head Coach Linh Nguyen had high praise for Beavers’ performance in the meet.
“I thought that [Beavers] did a really good job,” Nguyen said. “She dropped … almost 90 seconds from two weeks before and just was steadily moving up through the whole race.”
Junior Christina Dwier finished second for Emory with a personal record time of 16:10, resulting in a 38th-place finish.
Dwier was pleased with the encouraging early-season result, both individually and as a team.
“If I’m not mistaken, our entire team that went [to the meet] PRed from two weeks ago, and this is definitely the fittest I’ve ever been [at this point] in cross country,” Dwier said.
Although she was happy with her time, Dwier was careful not to be complacent.
“It definitely gave me a lot of confidence,” Dwier said. “But at the same time, I know that I wasn’t completely satisfied because I know that I still have a lot left for the season.”
Rounding out the finishes at the UTC Twilight Meet for the Eagles were juniors Olivia Hoekendijk (17:02) and Michelle Ly (17:18), followed by freshmen Virginia Brown and Lauren Musachia in 17:29 and 17:53, respectively.
While Emory certainly found success at the meet, they had to battle through significant adversity. The team received inaccurate information about the course distance and did not find out about the mistake until the race itself. According to Nguyen, the team expected to run a 5K race for the women when it was, in fact, a 4K race.
“We didn’t find out until they finished, so a lot of them actually thought they had another kilometer to go when they were running,” Nguyen explained. “So some just mistimed … the rationing of energy, thinking they had more to go when they didn’t.”
On top of this confusion, the Eagles battled through temperatures as high as 99 degrees with no shade during the race, according to Nguyen, making their success even more impressive.
“I thought they did a really good job,” Nguyen said. “It was pretty brutal conditions, so they did really well.”
The team will compete again at the Rhodes College (Tenn.) Invitational on Sept. 21.