The Emory cross country team participated at the 33rd Sewanee Invitational (Tenn.) on Saturday, Sept. 7.
The meet was held at the Sewanee Golf Club with the women’s team competing in the 6K race and the men’s team competing in the 8K event.
Led by Head Coach John Curtin, the women’s squad placed first, and the men’s squad placed second.
“Our top runners ran the meet last weekend as a team tempo effort, running together as a group at a controlled pace,” Curtin said.
The women’s side, which is ranked second in the South/Southeast regain and 33rd nationally among Division III programs, totaled in at 27 points, managing to be just ahead of Centre College’s (Ky.) 32 points.
Birmingham-Southern (Ala.) came in at third with 104 points. Emory had three of the top four individual finishers in the 88 runner field.
Junior Tamara Surtees led the team by finishing first in the 6K race with a time of 24:25.
“I was very impressed with Tamara’s win. She shared the pace for most of the race with Emily Caesar but looked very much under control from start to finish,” Curtin said.
Senior Emily Caesar scored third with a time of 24:33. Freshman Michelle Kagei and junior Elise Viox finished 25:21 for ninth and 25:22 for tenth respectively.
“I also have to give some props to rookie Michelle Kagei who fell to the back of the pack in the second lap but came back to catch Centre’s fifth girl and give the girls a chance to win. Michelle has stepped right in and given us a much needed lift,” Curtin said.
The men’s team, ranked first in the South/Southeast Region, recorded 50 points in the men’s race, second only to Centre College’s winning mark of 20 points. Berry College got third place with 66 points.
Emory took the eighth through 12th position in the 8K at Sewanee. Senior Eddie Mulder headed the Emory surge in the 93 runner field finishing at 28:31.6, good for eighth place.
“The full top 5 ran very well together. I think freshman Michael McBane is off to a great start … we are missing Lucas Mees right now we are all hoping he will start feeling better soon,” Curtin said.
McBane scored ninth with a time of 28:31.8, and junior Tyler Cooke finished 10th with a time of 28.32.14.
Junior Cameron Wheeler (28.32.3) and senior Alex Fleischhacker (28.32.5) rounded out the group finishing 11th and 12th.
The team is enjoying the start to the season, but they have their eyes on final goal of the season, which is to qualify for nationals.
“[Last year’s team] fell just short of qualifying for nationals. This year, however, things are different. The team motto is ‘The Heist,’ named after Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ new rap album. We intend to take back what is ours; we intend to qualify for nationals,” Freshman Evan Sayre said.
Curtin shares the same mindset as his players.
“It’s fun to win meets in September, but the wins that count come in late when UAA and Regional titles are on the line. We have a lot of guys in the varsity mix right now including some promising freshmen. It will be fun to see how it shakes out as the younger runners start to settle in,” Curtin said.
The team’s next event is the Furman Classic at the Furman University (S.C.) Golf Course on Sept. 14.
– By Alex Del Re