FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Charlotte women's cross country team capped off the 24th Annual Chile Pepper Festival with a 14th place finish, shortly after the men's team finished 18th, earlier Saturday afternoon at the University of Arkansas cross country course in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Niners made their first-ever appearance in the meet, which has grown to become a premier event over the years.
Charlotte had a chance to see some future Conference USA mates at the meet, as well as Atlantic 10 foes, and several top programs in the nation.
Arkansas won the 6K event on the women's side with a team score of 58, placing all its runners in the top 35.
Charlotte finished with a team score of 410. Senior Hana Sutchar was first for the 49ers, crossing the line with a mark of 22:48.4 to finish 72nd out of 340 runners. Sutchar lowered her time in the 6K on Saturday, which was previously 23:16.26 at the Charlotte Invitational.
"It was great to see the women improve from the Charlotte Invitational," said Head coach Ed Schlichter. "There was also a better effort from the top five in means of the time gap. I still think we're capable of improving a lot but it was good to see them beat several Conference USA teams that we'll see next year."
Oklahoma State, who is ranked second in the Men's Cross Country National Coaches' Poll, won the 10K race with a team score of 20, placing all of its runners in the top 15.
Charlotte, who ran its first 10K of the season, tabbed a team score of 496 and was led by sophomore Zach Greth who was 59th (32:38.5) out of a field of 313.
Getisso Dentamo was second for the 49ers, finishing 74th with a time of 32:52.7. Chris Anderson was 104th (33:20.0) followed by Michael Tamayo (33:44.5). John Felts rounded out Charlotte's top five with a time of 33:52.4
"The men started out the best I've seen all year but we're able to compete in the middle of the race which gave up too many spots," explained Schlichter. We fell short of some of our goals today but we get another shot at the 10K distance at regionals so at least today we will make the Atlantic 10 Championship feel super short."
Charlotte will take the next week off to prep for the A10 Championship on Saturday, Oct. 27, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Philadelphia.