NEWTON, N.C. --- The Tusculum University men's and women's cross country teams competed at the Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational Thursday afternoon at Southside Park. The meet was moved up one day due to the threat of inclement weather from the arrival of Hurricane Florence.
After winning the season-opening Zaxby's Open last week on their home course at Holston Home, the Pioneer men backed up their performance with a second-place finish at Lenoir-Rhyne. The Pioneer women finished fifth overall, one spot improved from last week's result.
Tusculum will continue its early-season schedule on Saturday, Sept. 29 at the North Georgia Invitational in Oakwood, Georgia, which will be the site of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional meet in November.
Tusculum was the top non-Division I finisher at the meet, compiling 73 points to finish second behind Appalachian State which had seven runners in the top 10 and scored 23 points. Sophomore Will Cronin, who was the individual winner at the Zaxby's Open, finished ninth overall and second among Division II runners with a time of 25:58.74 over the eight-kilometer course.
Freshman Kyler Hodges took 12th place with a time of 26:06.78, followed by junior T.J. Tupps in 16th place at 26:24.26. Sophomore Jackson Beason gave the Pioneers four runners in the top 20 as he was 17th overall in 26:26.82, and freshman Daniel Rotich was the final scorer for Tusculum as he was 28th with a time of 27:02.36.
Other finishers for the Pioneers were freshman Carson Walls in 46th place at 28:08.24, junior Kyle Stanley in 51st place at 28:16.40, freshman Alejandro Perez in 54th place at 28:27.47, and senior J'Quen Johnson in 58th place at 29:01.97. Rounding out the field for Tusculum were sophomore Isaac Hybarger in 70th place at 33:09.03, and freshman Marcus Savage who ran 33:16.12 and finished in 71st place.
Following Appalachian State and Tusculum in the men's team standings were South Carolina Upstate in third place (94 points), Lenoir-Rhyne in fourth (96 points), Montreat in fifth (125 points), Lees-McRae in sixth (141 points), Carson-Newman in seventh (172 points) and Patrick Henry Community College in eighth (251 points). Carson-Newman did have the race winner in Luke Greer, who edged App State's Colin Loy by just over a half-second.
Junior Alissa Furches was the Pioneers' top finisher as she crossed the finish line in 25th place with a time of 20:24.71, but sixth among the South Atlantic Conference schools entered in the meet. Sophomore Yoland Boyce finished 45th overall across the five-kilometer course with a time of 21:36.89, and junior Brooklyn Smith took 52nd place in 22:25.88.
Appalachian State had the top five finishers and nine of the top 11, winning the meet with a perfect score of 15 points. Lenoir-Rhyne was second with 62 points, followed by Carson-Newman and USC Upstate (88 points apiece), Tusculum (146 points) and Lees-McRae (173 points). App State's Phylissa Greeley won the individual title with a time of 18:05.52.