Sept. 22, 2012
|Men's Team Finish||1st of 3|
|Women's Team Finish||2nd of 6|
Men's Finishers - 8K
Women's Finishers - 5K
* - Personal Best
Manion claimed his first career individual championship with a time of 27:24.91 to help Tulane win their first team title since 2004.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - It hadn't happened for the Tulane men's cross country program in eight years, but on Saturday at the Southern Miss Dedicated Cross Country Facility when the Green Wave claimed the team title with a stout 16-point performance. The women's squad finished runner-up to the host Golden Eagles to cap the solid day on the course for the program.
"Today was a challenging course," said Tulane head coach Eric Peterson. "It was nothing over powering, but was very hilly with rugged terrain. This isn't one of those courses that is set up for athletes to run personal records, but we were much more focused on the competitive aspect of meet. The guys did a great job and the women did well, too. We have been able to identify some specific things that we can improve on to make us a more competitive team."
In the men's race, Tulane passed the five-kilometer mark with the top five runners in the team race. Eventually, the Green Wave watched as the first four runners to cross the finish line donned the Olive and Blue, led by sophomore Mark Manion, and the sixth overall runner belonged to Tulane to post the near perfect score of 16 points. The team title was the first since the program was brought back in 2008. The last team championship came on Oct. 2, 2004 at the University of New Orleans Invitational.
Mark Manion led the charge with the first individual crown in his young career, topping the field with an 8K time of 27:24.91. Fellow sophomore Geoffrey Zelek grabbed runner-up honors with a 27:52.49 clip, while freshman Jack White crossed the finish line in a personal best time of 28:03.66 to grab third place. Adam Yohanan placed fourth overall in 28:19.75 and Nicholas Meloro finished sixth in 29:03.06.
"Mark (Manion) is doing a great job of leading this team," said Peterson, "and the rest of our guys are responding well. They ran well as a pack for the first three-kilometers and that was our game plan entering the meet. After that we turned them loose and they worked together a little more after that. It is a good result and an exciting step forward in our programs development."
The women's squad was led by Paige Callahan for the seventh time in her eight career meets and finished second overall in a time of 18:31.98. It was the highest individual finish for the sophomore - who placed fourth last weekend at the Azalea City Classic - and helped the team to a great start in the scoring column. Katherine Crabtree finished sixth overall in 19:22.29, while Emmi Aguillard ran 19:32.37 to place seventh overall.
"What we are working on (with the women's squad) was doing a better job of running as a pack early in the race," Peterson said. "We didn't do that very well today. Paige (Callahan) did a good job running with the lead pack early in the race and Emmi hung with the leads as long as she could. We are going to come away from this meet learning a lot about the tactics that we need to implement moving forward."
The top three runners in the Green Wave women's lineup have been the same three runners for the last five meets dating back to the 2011 slate. Callie Turlington was the fourth TU finisher in ninth place with a time of 20:04.37, while freshman Mikayla Sonneborn set another personal-best over five kilometers with a 20:12.52 showing to finish tenth overall.
The cross country program will take next weekend off before heading to the Disney Classic hosted at the Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla. on Saturday, October 6.
You can follow the Green Wave cross country/track and field program on Twitter (@GreenWaveTkFld) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.