Sept. 14, 2013
MOBILE, Ala. - Tulane's cross country underclassmen stepped up big for the team on Saturday at the South Alabama Azalea City Classic in Mobile, Ala., as sophomore Adam Yohanan paced the men's squad with a new personal best of 25:25.75 in the 8K, while true freshman Katharine Smiley led the women's side with a 22:31 in the 6K portion of the meet.
As a team, the men's side placed third overall against some strong competition, notching a total of 84 points. Host school South Alabama won the men's portion of the competition with a score of 21. Only UL-Lafayette (42 points) separated Tulane from the leader.
"Some of the things we were anticipating going into this race really came through," said Tulane director of cross country and track and field Eric Peterson. "We had two of our athletes come through and lead our team for the first time in their careers in Adam and Katharine. Adam ran one of the best cross country races I think I've seen here at Tulane. We had several other athletes that ran well, and that's positive."
Yohanan shaved almost two minutes off his previous best of 27:00.21, ran at last year's Azalea City Classic, for a sixth place finish out of a total of 53 runners. This year's course was different from last year's, though, as the Green Wave ran at the Mobile County Fairgrounds. Last year's race was held at the Brookley Pines Golf Course.
On top of Yohanan's strong performance, sophomore Jack White also recorded a new personal best with a 16th-place finish in a time of 26:15.39. Junior Geoff Zelek, the lone upperclassman to compete on the men's side for the Green Wave on the day, notched a new career best, running 26:22.52 and coming in right behind White in 17th place.
Newcomer Jack Curtis, competing in his first collegiate cross country meet, finished in 21st place with a time of 26:26.05. Two freshmen in Andrew Martz and Kade Kistner came in at 28th and 47th, respectively, with times of 27:04.56 and 30:02.48.
On the women's side, the team placed sixth overall out of 10 total teams with a score of 145. A team of runners from UAB won the women's side of the race, scoring a total of 20 points.
Smiley led the way for the Green Wave during her first true collegiate cross-country meet - as the team last competed in the UNO Relay Meet two weeks ago. The Danville, Calif., native placed 17th in the race with a time of 22:31.
Sophomore Mikayla Sonneborn trailed Smiley by just 31 seconds, as she finished in 23:02 for a 21st-place finish. She bested her previous top performance, set at the NCAA South Central Regional last season.
Freshman Allison Wegner ran in her first true collegiate cross country meet and placed 51st with a time of 25:19. Two juniors made their cross country debuts for the Green Wave on Saturday, as well, as Charlotte Manogue (26:20) and Michelle Kreutzberg (26:44) finished 58th and 60th, respectively.
"Those two haven't really practiced last week, so our kids weren't surprised they weren't going to run," added Peterson. "On the women's side, I charged Mikayla - who has more experience than the freshman - with the responsibilities of setting the pace for our group. She did a great job of that. Over the final two kilometers of the race, Katharine was feeling strong and that's where she opened up a little bit. In all, there are a lot of good, positive signs from young athletes who are improving on a weekly basis."
Tulane will have a week off to rest before heading west to Lake Charles, La., for the McNeese Invitational on Sept. 28.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field and cross country programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Team Results (Women)
1. UAB A (20 points)
2. South Alabama (73)
3. UL-Lafayette (96)
4. Alabama State (104)
5. Troy A (106)
6. Tulane (145)
7. UAB B (151)
8. New Orleans (201)
9. Troy B (215)
10. Southeastern Louisiana (284)
Tulane Women's Entries (out of 65)
17. Katharine Smiley, 22:31*
21. Mikayla Sonneborn, 23:02
23. Sara Kebede, 23:10*
35. Callie Turlington, 24:05
51. Allison Wegner, 25:19*
58. Charlotte Manogue, 26:20*
60. Michelle Kreutzberg, 26:44*
Team Results (Men)
1. South Alabama (21 points)
2. UL-Lafayette (42)
3. Tulane (84)
4. Southeastern Louisiana (115)
5. New Orleans (138)
6. Troy (143)
7. Alabama State (169)
Tulane Men's Entries (out of 53)
6. Adam Yohanan, 25:25.75*
16. Jack White, 26:15.39*
17. Geoff Zelek, 26:22.52*
21. Jack Curtis, 26:26.05*
28. Andrew Martz, 27:04.56*
47. Kade Kistner, 30:02.48*