ANDERSON, S.C. – Following a two-week layoff, the Anderson University cross country teams are slated to get back on the course by competing in the Queen city Invite, which will be hosted by the Royals on Friday at McAlpine Creek Park.
The women's 5k race is slated for a 5 p.m. start, with the men's 8k race set for 5:30 p.m. With the Royals hosting the event as well as sending squads to compete in the Sacramento State Capital Cross Challenge - home of the 2019 NCAA DII Cross Country Championships - on Saturday, the Queen City Invite will feature more than 40 different teams from across all divisions.
The Trojans are familiar with the course, as AU will be competing in Charlotte for the 10th time in 11 seasons. In their last appearance on the fast McAlpine Creek Park course last October, the AU women finished 12th overall and eighth among NCAA D-II teams at the Royals Challenge, while the men's squad claimed seventh overall and fifth among NCAA Division II teams.
"It's a super-fast course," noted Anderson head coach Kevin Eagle before the season began. "Weather permitting, that's the PR course. It's the career PR course for nearly every runner who runs there. It's nice to get on a fast flat course. And from what I've seen, it looks to be similar to this year's NCAA National Championship course."
Of the Trojan women's runners who competed a year ago, Olivia Evans finished in 60th place, with classmate Olivia Rish also notching a then personal-best time and claiming 74th place. Kamryn Osterbind also notched a career-best time and finished 119th. Hannah Beach ran a career-best time and finished in the 128th slot.
From the men's returners who ran last season, Ben Clark also posted a career-best time and finished 43rd. Classmate Weston Hutto ran a personal-best time en route to a 49th-place finish, with Phillip Quillen also crossing the finish line in 98th place in a career-best time.
The AU women's squad, which was ranked second in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) DII Regional Poll – just behind the host Royals – finished ninth out of 35 teams two weeks ago at Florida's Mountain Dew Invitational.
The Trojan men, who are ranked seventh in the latest USTFCCCA Southeast Region Poll, claimed 11th place in a field of 31 teams in Gainesville, Fla.
Senior Ty Gleason paced the Trojans with a 31st-place finish, while freshman Daniel Similton was just behind in 34th place. Fellow freshman Michael Burgess claimed 75th place with freshman Jonathan Timberlake finishing 100th.
Freshman Noah Brock claimed 118th place with McLain taking home 120th place. Matthew Burgess finished 126th, while sophomore Sutcliffe was 139th. Quillen and Hayden Tuten finished 172nd and 174th, respectively, with freshman Nicolas Danielski finishing 184th.