Cross Country kicks off with first meet of season

Jeremy Chisenhall

The cross country team had its first meet of the season at Vanderbilt University on Saturday morning.

Both teams had tough first runs in rainy conditions, but there were positives to build on as the men’s team finished 20th out of 23 schools, and the women’s finished 25th out of 25 schools.

For the men, senior Endalow Takele led the way with a time of 25:01.1. Takele’s time as the 12th best out of 228 competitors.

Freshman Taylor Scarbrough was second on the team with a time of 26:39.3, followed by junior Julien Cuyeu at 26:47, senior Kyle Wilson at 27:27.3, freshman Kyle Sprague at 28:24.2 and redshirt sophomore Mark Stice at 28:36.6.

For the women, sophomore Aleja Grant led the way with a time of 19:46.6, followed by junior Alexa Brainard at 20:20.9, junior Savannah Ames at 20:56.2, freshman Kyla Scanlon at 20:58.2 and freshman Brianna Wolken at 21:07.7.

While neither team finished in the position they would have liked to, there were positives to take away. Top men’s runner Takele had a great run and finished 12th overall in the men’s 8k.

Meanwhile, Scarbrough exceeded expectations in his very first college race. Scarbrough ran 5k races in high school, so he’s still adjusting and developing the endurance to run consistently through the longer race.

“It sucked,” Scarbrough said. “I was able to get to about mile four and then it really started to hurt. But I was still able to put a pretty big push on.”

Scarbrough said he ran a great time, but it was about what he expected of himself, both time-wise and where he finished on the team.

“From our workouts I kind of expected it,” Scarbrough said. “We finished about in the order we usually finish in our workouts. I think we definitely can [get better]. It’s the start of the season so we’ve got to kind of get our guys that are behind up. We’ve got a ways to go.”

Sprague also had some words on the performance and what it means for the team going forward.

“I think [Saturday] was a good step in the right direction,” Sprague said. “We showed that we were in good shape, and come conference time I think we’re going to be ready.”

The team is off next week, but will be looking to improve on this week’s performance in the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Reporter Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.