Will Seidel, Sports Editor • email@example.com
The Emory & Henry College Men’s Cross Country teams kicked of the 2017 season on Saturday, September 2nd at Western Carolina Invitational. Distance was shorter than usual, but E&H still finished 6th out of 6 teams.
The top finisher for E&H was Junior Austin Tolbert, who led the way for E&H with a 33rd place finish with a time of 16:52, good enough to finish 9th among the small college runners. Coming right behind him was Junior Moran who ran 17:13.
Coming in third behind Moran was Buck Kirtland, who came in at 17:44, followed by Michael LoGrande at 18:38, and then Caleb Simpson finished out the top five with a time of 20:35. Colt Pierce was the sixth and last one to finish by a time of 21:05.
The University of Georgia swept the top five spots to win the event and Milligan College took the title for small colleges. The overall winner was Georgia’s Bryan Kamau who finished at 15:29 and Tim Thacker from Milligan finished first from the small colleges and sixth overall by a time of 15:42.
Head Coach for both the Men’s and Women’s team, Ian Layne, enters his second year at the helm and this year will be challenging year for the Coach Layne and the Men’s Cross Country team. Not only are the Wasps picked eighth to finish in the ODAC, but they will be much smaller. E&H comes into the year having lost five runners to graduation last spring. While the senior leadership won’t be as top heavy as it was last year, E&H will still look to seniors, LoGrande, Kirtland, and Simpson to help carry the team.
For Simpson, he knows what they’re up against. “We have a small team so health will be a big theme going forward.”
Simpson, a senior from Richmond, Virginia, says he can see the Wasps exceeding expectations. “We could exceed that (preseason ranking) if I tighten the pack up as our five and LoGrande can return to his #1 form before he broke his leg last fall.”
Despite the slow start, Simpson says they still have ways to go, but likes what he sees so far from the top two runners that ran for E&H at Western Carolina. “We still have some work, but our front runners in Zane and Austin look really good.” The Wasps next meet will be this Staurday , September 9th, at the Royal Twilight Meet.