ANDERSON, SC--MARTIN WINS RUNNER OF YEAR Lees-McRae College's men's and women's cross country teams participated in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference Championships this past Friday held at Pine Lakes Golf Course in Anderson, South Carolina.
Both teams had outstanding performances as the men finished 2nd out of 12 teams and the women were 5th out of 12.
The men pulled off a huge upset as they climbed their way to second place in the men's race, led by junior Lewis Martin, who finished first overall and was named the 2005 CVAC Cross Country Runner of the Year. Martin was the 2003 CVAC Freshman of the Year and has never finished out of the top five in the conference meet.
His time of 26:58 was one second off of the course record.
"The game-plan worked well as he surged on this hilly course and was able to stay patient throughout the race," said Coach McPhail. "This was one of his goals and it is great to achieve it today."
In order to secure second the Bobcats had great performances from their entire time as Josh Blanc finished 16th, Brett Collins 17th, Joey Faitella 22nd, Jeff Swicegood 24th, Jamie Godfrey 29th. Matt Barrett had one of his best races as he finished 44th, Daniel Stephens was 45th and Sebron Jessup was 52nd.
"Obviously Lewis had a great race, but his teammates really stepped up today, in particular Brett and Matt, they had tremendous improvements on their season and helped us accomplish something we did not think was possible," said Coach McPhail.
"A couple of weeks ago we were ranked 9th in the Southeast and no one really believed in us, but our training has put us right in the mix for regionals in a couple of weeks," McPhail said.
On the women's side, it was a test of strengths and the Bobcats hung tough until the end. Demarea Colson had her best race of her year as she finished 14th and garnered All-Conference honors.
The red-shirt freshman from Chesapeake, VA, was constantly moving up in the race to come on strong at the end.
Casey Willis, finished one spot out of All-CVAC honors with a 16th place finish. Leslie Thurman finished 20th, Kathleen Wilkerson 29th and Jenny Hurd was 45th.
However, just as remarkable was the performance of Claire Weeks. Three months after an appendectomy, Weeks was racing the race of her life as she was in the Top 30, however within a half-mile of the finish she went down with a torn stomach muscle.
"We've had some bad luck all year and the women have battled through the adversities and injuries and today was a showcase of their determination," said Coach Mac. "We may have learned more about ourselves today than we could have if the outcome was different.
Next up for the Bobcats will be the NCAA DII Southeast Regionals held at Wingate University, Saturday Nov. 5th.