|49ers Cross Country Finishes 2nd at Elon|
The Charlotte 49ers men's and women's cross country teams garnered a pair of second place team finishes on Saturday at the Elon Invitational in Elon, NC. The women's team tallied 44 points, finishing only behind home team Elon. The men's squad turned in 44 point of their own, finishing second to UNC Greensboro.
On the women's side, junior Hana Sutchar was the top Charlotte finisher, placing fifth overall in a time of 18:19 in her first race of the season. Rookies Kristen Stout and Jenna Christensen also cracked the top ten, finishing ninth (18:34) and tenth (18:39), respectively.
"It was a great effort by the women today," head coach Ed Schlichter said after the meet. "After a tough start, Hana moved up well to lead us, and Kristen and Jenna did a wonderful job working together."
The 49ers used a group strategy, hanging together as a pack throughout the race, with three more runners hanging together to finish the top 15 overall. Freshmen Taylor Carcella and Jen Molke, along with senior Kristin Mitchell, came in at 13th, 14th and 15th respectively.
"To have six girls finish under 19 minutes, four of whom are freshman gives us a great amount of depth," Schlichter said. "I can't say enough how impressed I am with this group of ladies. Several had personals bests of a minute or more today."
UNC Greensboro's Ashley Schnell won the event in a time of 17:19, while Elon won the women's team title.
Junior Daweet Dagnachew was the top Niners runner on the men's side, coming in fifth overall in 25:31 in the first 8K race of the season. Right behind him was senior Dakota Lowery, who ran a 25:49 race for a sixth overall finish.
Third for Charlotte and eighth overall was junior Ross Roberson, who turned in a time of 25:59. Fourth was sophomore Joseph Cotto, who, in his first meet of the season, finished 12th overall with a time of 26:04. Freshman Zach Greth, who was last week's top finisher at the Charlotte Duals meet, came in 13th overall in a time of 26:05.
Of the men's performance, Schlichter said, "This was a good start for us today. With this being our first 8K of the year, we certainly have some room for improvement. We've got some serious work ahead of us, but I know our guys are ready for it."
UNC Greensboro's Paul Chelimo finished first overall with a time of 23:40, helping Greensboro to a first place finish.
The Elon Invite was the final warmup leading up to next weekend, when Schlichter plans to add in the final pieces to optimize his team's success. The 49ers are on the road again next Saturday at the Roy Griak Invitational in Falcon Heights, MN.