Junior Paige Callahan lead the Green Wave to their first XC victory since 2010
Sept. 28, 2013
LAKE CHARLES, La. - One of the goals Tulane's cross country program set before Saturday's McNeese State Cowboy Stampede was to elevate their competitive status among schools in the state of Louisiana. The women's team did just that at the meet, placing first with their top five runners all placing in the top 15 at the Enos Darbonne Sports Complex in Lake Charles, La.
Tulane scored a total of 43 points, coming in 19 points ahead of second-place LSU. Junior Paige Callahan came back from an injury to pace the team with a 18:19.76 finish in the 5K to place fourth, while freshman Katharine Smiley was right behind her with a new personal best sixth-place finish of 19:04.05. Fellow freshman Sara Kebede came in at eighth with a time of 19:07.53 - also a personal best - while sophomore Mikayla Sonneborn (19:25.42) and senior Callie Turlington (19:36.19) came in at tenth and 14th, respectively.
"Paige coming off her injury did a really good job leading that team," said Tulane director of cross country and track and field Eric Peterson. "Really, the key to the team's success today was the running that Katharine, Sara and Mikayla are doing together right in the middle of that lineup."
Peterson was also impressed by the output from Tulane's lone female senior.
"Another thing that should be noted is Callie's performance today," added Peterson. "It wasn't a lifetime best for her, but it was a significant level of improvement over the last few races."
The first place finish by the women's squad was the first since the team did so on Oct. 8, 2010 at the Watson Ford Invitational in Clinton, Miss. However, the level of competition on Saturday was much higher than the 2010 meet, with the SEC's LSU and the Sun Belt's Louisiana-Lafayette among the opposing teams the team faced in Lake Charles, La.
Smiley and Kebede put together two of the best performances by Tulane freshmen in recent memory. The Green Wave have not seen two underclassmen finish in the top ten since the aforementioned Watson Ford Invitational in 2010 when then-sophomores Katherine Crabtree and Emmi Aguillard placed fifth and seventh, respectively.
"Both Sara and Katharine have come into the program with similar abilities," added Peterson. "I think Katharine has a really even disposition. She takes things in stride and doesn't get real emotional. She handles things really well. Sara is doing a really good job learning from Mikayla and Katharine on how to be more effective over five or six thousand meters. That's a really long race for her. For her to get out and pace herself the way she did today and finish strong is key."
On the men's side of the action, the Tulane men's squad wrapped up Saturday's race in sixth place with a total of 171 points. The squad only ran five members during the four mile race, meaning every finish counted.
Sophomore Adam Yohanan led the team once again, coming in at 22nd place with a finish of 21:09.41.
Fellow sophomore Jack White was the next to cross the finish line for the Green Wave, as he came in at 31st place in a time of 21:35.03. Junior Geoff Zelek was the third Green Wave runner to finish the race, crossing the finish line at the 21:53.94, good for 37th place.
Tulane will not return to competition until Oct. 18, when they will travel east for the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field and cross country programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Women's Team Results (Total points)
1. Tulane (43 points)
2. LSU (62)
3. McNeese State (69)
4. Louisiana-Lafayette (87)
5. Nicholls State (143)
6. LSU B (153)
7. Central Arkansas (157)
8. Southern (194)
9. Northwestern State (239)
10. Southeastern Louisiana (241)
Tulane Women's Entries (5K out of 68 runners)
4. Paige Callahan, 18:19.76
6. Katharine Smiley, 19:04.05*
8. Sara Kebede, 19:07.53*
11. Mikayla Sonneborn, 19:25.42
14. Callie Turlington, 19:36.19
45. Allison Wegner, 22:05.25*
47. Charlotte Manogue, 22:22.73*
Men's Team Results (Total Points)
1. McNeese State (17)
2. LSU (71)
3. Louisiana Tech (96)
4. Central Arkansas (107)
5. Louisiana-Lafayette (114)
6. Tulane (171)
7. Southeastern Louisiana (186)
8. LSU B (227)
9. Northwestern State (233)
10. Southern (261)
11. Nicholls State (292)
12. Southeastern Louisiana B (316)
13. Southern-New Orleans (334)
Tulane Men's Entries (4 Mile Run out of 89 runners)
22. Adam Yohanan, 21:09.41
31. Jack White, 21:35.03
37. Geoff Zelek, 21:53.94
49. Jack Curtis, 22:29.80
53. Kade Kistner, 22:39.33
* - Personal Best