Cross Country Outraces UNO, Nicholls and Southeastern at UNO XC Relay

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Sophomore Geoffery Zelek had a solid run for Tulane's cross country team at the UNO XC Relay
Sophomore Geoffery Zelek had a solid run for Tulane's cross country team at the UNO XC Relay

Sep 1, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's cross country squad got their season started on the right foot, as both the men and the women scored three wins a piece by defeating UNO, Nicholls State and Southeastern Louisiana at the UNO XC Relay on Friday night at Lake Oaks Park.

Sophomore Mikayla Sonneborn and junior Paige Callahan led the way on the women's side of the meet, placing first overall out of 12 total groups, while sophomore Adam Yohanan and freshman Kade Kistner finished first out of 15 on the men's side of the meet.

The UNO XC Relay, which was the first cross country or track and field meet hosted by UNO since Hurricane Katrina, was a 6K relay. Each school submitted multiple pairs of runners, and each runner ran a 3K, with the runner of the second leg finishing the race for the final result.

Each team was scored in a dual format, meaning the Green Wave posted three victories in their opening weekend. The top three pairs from each school earned points that coincided with their finish, and the school with the lowest score won the head-to-head.

"We are beyond happy to get off to a winning start in our season," stated Tulane director of cross country and track and field Eric Peterson. "We intentionally wanted to stay close to home and have a meet against local competition in which we felt we could be very competitive. Even though our team is very young, and we have a few freshmen that we are going to count on to make significant contributions to the team, I feel really good about the way things unfolded for us on Friday evening."



Sonneborn and Callahan used their experience to combine for the fastest time on the women's side, as they finished the race in 23:43.283. Sonneborn got things started, while Callahan ran the second half of the race. Finishing first earned the team one point, almost solidifying the win for the Green Wave women.

"I wanted to pair the women's team up as I have seen them from top to bottom," added Peterson. "I think Mikayla and of course Paige were the top. Mikayla came back from an impressive track season. I think those two kids right now have demonstrated good leadership and strength at the front of our team."

On top of the seasoned veterans, two freshman in Sara Kebede and Katharine Smiley joined forces to finish the event in a time of 24:21.646 for a third place finish, earning the team three points. Senior Callie Turlington and another freshman, Allison Wegner, placed sixth for Tulane's third-best duo on the evening.

"I know that Sara, Katharine and Callie - in no particular order - are going to make up the next segment of our team," stated Peterson. "I thought everyone got off to a good start and represented themselves well."

On the men's side, Yohanan and Kistner - another student-athlete making his collegiate debut - finished the 6K in a time of 20:12.170. Yohanan has taken a leadership role with the team as only a sophomore, and his work has paid off so far.

"I'm really impressed with what Adam has done over the summer to prepare for this season," mentioned Peterson. "He's lost a little bit of weight. He's worked very hard. He's been very consistent in practice and in the first week of training, so it didn't surprise me to see him run the way he did. Kade has ability too. He was an accomplished high school runner, and like I said, I expect he and Andrew (Martz) to come in and make an immediate impact.

Sophomore Jack White and junior GeoffrEy Zelek were not far behind the winning team, as they finished just 18 seconds behind Yohanan and Kistner in a time of 20:30.996, good enough for third place.

"Geoff Zelek really impressed me this weekend," added Peterson. "He was the second runner in his group, following Jack. He passed at least one guy, maybe two, in his leg, and he was really the difference maker. Kade and Adam did a nice job up front, but we needed someone in the middle of our lineup to step up, and that's what Geoff did."

Junior Mark Manion and freshman Andrew Martz were the third and final men's team to finish for the Green Wave, placing sixth in a time of 21:02.576.

A scoring malfunction delayed the results from being posted until now. Because of this malfunction, the split times are still unavailable. Upon their release, they will be found on TulaneGreenWave.com.

Peterson's team will take the next week off in order to assess the health of student-athletes before beginning preparation for their next meet on Sept. 14. On that day, the Green Wave will compete in the South Alabama Azalea City Classic.

Fans can follow the Tulane track and field and cross country programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.

Tulane Women Results (Placement out of 12, First Leg/Second Leg, Time, Points Scored)
1. Mikayla Sonneborn/Paige Callahan, 23:43.283, 1 point
3. Sara Kebede/Katharine Smiley, 24:21.646, 3 points
6. Callie Turlington/Allison Wegner, 24:52.453, 6 points
9. Aimee Arceneaux/Amanda Savage, 28:02.256, 0 points

Tulane Men Results (Placement out of 15, First Leg/Second Leg, Points Scored)
1. Adam Yohanan/Kade Kistner, 20:12.170, 1 point
3. Jack White/ GeoffrEy Zelek, 20:30.996, 3 points
6. Mark Manion/Andrew Martz, 21:02.576, 6 points