Panthers open season at Michael Pretorius Invitational in Nashville

September 20, 2022 | 12:03 am

Updated September 19, 2022 | 11:08 pm

The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in their first race of the new season, taking on some strong competition at the Michael Pretorius Memorial Meet hosted by Trevecca Nazarene University. The Panther women took second out of five teams, while the men took fourth out of four. 

“All the women that raced today ran well,” said head coach Sol Stephens. “We’ve had a steady month of training with some ups and downs but it’s cross country…it literally goes up and down. Hoffman ran a solid race with Lesniak coming around after a difficult summer. Crume ran well and Davis definitely was the surprise of the day. We know where we are and now the real fun begins.”

Running a 5k (3.1 miles), Karlee Hoffman led the Panthers with a 15th place finish and a time of 19:33. Finishing not far behind her was sophomore Abigail Lesniak, who took 16th with a time of 19:57. Emery Crume rounded out the top three for KWC with a time of 20:35, good for 20th overall. Freshman Jaiden Davis finished strong over the final 100 meters to take 27th (21:36). Lucy Knutson (21:41) took 30th and rounded out the scoring for the Panthers. 

“The team showed out, learned, and grew from today,” said Hoffman. “It was a good first race and I can’t wait to watch us grow the rest of the season!”

Division I Lipscomb won the event with a team score of just 15. 

On the men’s side, the Panthers finished in fourth, coming in just two points behind the University of the South. Tanner Hayes ran strong (28:59) to take 17th. James Loi came in close behind him with a time of 30 minutes even, good for 19th. Landon Harper took 25th with a time of 31:32, while Hayden McDermott (32:09) and Zachary Hardin (34:40) took 30th and 33rd in their first collegiate cross country race. 

Coach Stephens stated that “The men were here to finish the race and get the experience. That’s going to be the plan every race. We’ve been in the reprogramming stage of the men’s side but they’ve responded. Tanner and James ran better here today then last year, so there’s clear statistical proof of improvement. We have get Harper healthy, and develop Hayden and Hardin after running their first 8K ever. We must take care of our bodies and each other to grow into what are our goals are.”

“We are getting better day-by-day” said senior James Loi. “This race was a step in the right direction, both for myself and for the team. We just have to trust the process and do the little things because that is going to matter in the end.”

Just like on the women’s side, Lipscomb won the event, coming in with a score of 17 points. 

Wesleyan will be back in action on Friday, Sept. 30 when they head to Terre Haute, Indiana to take part in the Nike XC Town Twilight race hosted by Rose Hulman. 

September 20, 2022 | 12:03 am

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