Cross country teams put together their best race at Classic

Published 11:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2022

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Longwood men’s and women’s cross country put together their best race so far of the fall season at the Louisville Cross Country Classic on Saturday. Multiple runners posted their personal bests.

Women (Times)
39. Longwood WXC: Average Time—19:58.18
62. Grace Puleo: 18:50.6
180. Nicole Pinder: 19:49.6
191. Lanie Grogg: 19:54.0
255. Caroline Fairbanks: 20:22.3
319. Bailey Deaver: 20:54.4
386. Kiersten Witte: 21.58.7

Men (Times)
19. Longwood MXC: Average Time—27:11.70
40. Ethan Pettyjohn: 26:22.8
59. Benjamin Goulet: 26:35.9
113. Saad Khan: 27:22.3
157. Sam Sager: 27:44.9
168. Alec Daniel: 27:52.6
201. Andrew Schaefer: 28:15.5

HOW IT HAPPENED:

The Louisville Cross Country Classic features multiple heats, with each heat full of teams.

In the heat the Longwood women ran, there were 47 teams, including Big South foe UNC Asheville. The Lancers were 39th and finished four spots ahead of UNC Asheville.

Puleo crushed her personal best on a cross country course with her time of 18:50.6, and she finished 62nd among a heat of 419 runners that finished. Pinder cracked the 20-minute plateau for the first time in her career and shaved nearly 30 seconds off her personal best. Grogg, a freshman, also ran her fastest 5K of her collegiate career, shaving nearly 30 seconds off her best time.

Fairbanks battled through a difficult stretch that saw her run into a stick on the course to post a 20:22.3. Deaver, who has battled her way back from injury the past two seasons, ran her fastest time of the season. Witte also posted her best time of the season at 21:58.7 and was only two seconds off her personal best.

The Lancer men finished 19th among 45 teams in their heat as every single runner set a personal best.

Pettyjohn and Goulet led the charge, with the two finishing in the top 60 among the 412 runner heat. Pettyjohn was 40th with a 26:22.8, smashing his previous personal best by 48 seconds. Goulet was 59th with a 26:35.9, which was close to 90 seconds better than his previous best.

Khan finished in the top 30 percent of the field with a 27:22.3, which was 25 seconds faster than his personal best, set at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational two weeks ago. Sager finished 157th with a 27:44.9, which represented his personal best as well.

Daniel posted a 27:52.6 as the fifth Lancer under 28 minutes, which represented his best time by 55 seconds. Schaefer shook off a rough trip through the course to still post a 28:15.5. It is 15 seconds faster than his personal best, set at the Lancer Pink Invitational in his collegiate 8K debut.

WHAT THEY SAID:

“Today we only took runners who earned a spot on the bus,” said Longwood head coach Brooke Craig. “They knew what the job was, and they got it done.”

“It was a huge breakthrough for the women,” Craig added. “We had three run sub-20 minutes. Grace broke 19 for the first time on a cross country course and set a big PR. Nicole set a big PR, breaking 20 for the first time. She is coming back from an injury this spring and has been working on her mental toughness. She ran a smart race, and it paid off.”

“Lanie set a college PR, finally dipping below 20,” Craig said. “Caroline battled after running into a stick on the course, and she still ran well. Bailey has battled injuries for the past two years, and she came through to run a PR. She wanted redemption from the Virginia Tech meet where she had to drop it after hurting her ankle. Kiersten ran her best 5K in college and ran with grit.”

“Every single guy PR’d,” Craig said. “That’s with one having stomach issues in the race and one falling four times. It was a huge breakthrough for Ethan and Ben to finally break 27 minutes.”

“This is the start of our competition cycle,” Craig concluded. “We’ll be back in two weeks to chase more PRs with the whole team.”

UP NEXT:

The two teams race again in two weeks. The Lancer men are headed to High Point for the Vertcross Invite on Friday, Oct. 14. The Lancer women will race one day later on Saturday, Oct. 15 at the USC Upstate Invitational.