Winthrop's best male and female runners were up to the challenge Saturday at the Asics Winthrop Cross Country Invitational at the Winthrop Lake. Adam Freudenthal was fourth and Jeanne Stroud placed fifth in the men's and women's races with personal records.
Freudenthal, a junior from Spartanburg, ran a 25:18.18 over the 8K course. Stroud, a freshmen from Charleston, finished her first collegiate 5K in 18:25.86.
Winthrop coach Ben Paxton encouraged his teams this week telling them to get out in the first mile quickly. That's exactly what they did.
Freudenthal was in first place at the half-mile mark in 2:22. That's just what he ran in practice. Stroud was third after the first half-mile in 2:37, about five seconds faster than she expected. Both runners stayed with the lead group from start to finish.
"I'm proud that I PR'd off my base (mileage) work," Freudenthal said. "Coach Paxton has believed in me so much and I am just trusting what he says."
The meet also served as the South Carolina Intercollegiate Cross Country Championship. Freudenthal was the first South Carolina finisher. He was joined by Winthrop's A.J. Fitzsimmons and Stroud on the All-State team by placing in the Top 10.
Paxton was pleased with his No. 1 runners. The coach said Freudenthal will be even better in three to four weeks when he peaks. He peaked too early last year.
Stroud is making a lot of noise as a freshman. She finished second in the Western Carolina Invitational two-mile run on Sept. 3 in her college debut. She thought she had an advantage running at home on Saturday.
"I know the course well. I pushed up some hills knowing where the down hills were coming," she said.
Stroud will continue to work on the mental part of college running. She fell from third to ninth as the race neared the half-way point.
"I was mentally weak after two miles. It's so easy to try to conserve," she said.
The Winthrop men's team finished fourth in the Gold Division while a depleted women's team was eighth.
Carly Moss, the Eagles' top returning runner, did not compete. She continues to have Dengue fever symptoms. She contracted the virus while studying in Nicaragua in 2009 and it has given her muscle pain and weakness. Paxton said he is going to medical redshirt Moss this year.
Freshman Lisa Nichols, from Fort Mill, missed the race with tonsillitis. Moss and Nichols ran No. 3 and 4 for Winthrop at WCU to start the season.
Stroud was followed by teammates Shayna Jenkins, Tori Koterba, Jen Schofield and Megan Fulks.
On the men's side, Fitzsimmons, Kyle Carufe, Adam Leroux and Steve Rivard rounded out the top five spots.
Appalachian State's Sean Soderman, a 2009 SoCon All-Conference performer, set a course-record 24:38 to win the men's race. Soderman, who tied his 8K PR, led the Mountaineers to the Gold Division title.
Soderman, a junior out of Charlotte's North Mecklenburg High School, has drawn some inspiration from Brandon Hudgins.
Hudgins, who finished fifth overall and third for the Mountaineers, ran for Winthrop and Northwestern High School. Hudgins battled Wegener's granulomatosis, or simply WG, while at Winthrop. The disorder and the treatments nearly ended his running career.
Hudgins ran great on Saturday as a sixth-year graduated student. He shaved more than 30 seconds off his fastest time on the course.
Former Fort Mill High School standout Jenna Callahan made the All State team and was 11th overall for Furman. The senior was 14th at the season-opening Eye Opener in Spartanburg.
"We are just getting started," Callahan said. "We're hoping the team can run in the top three in the (Southern) Conference.
Hannah Robinson, who won the South Carolina Class AAAA State Cross Country Championship as a senior at Rock Hill, also runs for Furman. She warmed up with the team but a right hip injury prevented her from racing.
"It was certainly a disappointment not to run," Robinson said. "We have some big races coming up. We thought it would be better for me to get healthy than to run today."
Furman runs at The Citadel Invitational next weekend.
South Carolina's Beatrice Biwott was the overall women's champion with a new course record time of 18:01.19. The junior from Kenya also won at the South Carolina Invitational in Columbia on Sept. 3. She ran that course in 17:58.70.
"My goal is to be in the top 10 in the (SEC)," Biwott said. "In this kind of meet, I just want to run out front."
Results from the
Asics Winthrop Invitational
Women's Gold Division (5K)
TEAM SCORES: 1. South Carolina 40; 2. Appalachian State 48; 3. Furman 96; 4. Campbell 131; 4. Western Carolina 131; 6. College of Charleston 153; 7. Wofford 166; 8. Winthrop 206; 9. The Citadel 249; 10. Presbyterian 297.
Top 10: 1. Beatrice Biwott (USC) 18:01.19; 2. Brittney Caudle (ASU) 18:07.94; 3. Dena O'Brien (CofC) 18:08.11; 4. Brooke Mosteller (F) 18:09.15; 5. Jeanne Stroud (WU) 18:25.86; 6. Amy Neilson (ASU) 18:35.79; 7. Scola Jepngetich (USC) 18:38.39; 8. Morgan Turner (WCU) 18:38.57; 9. Liz Locke (USC) 18:40.12; 10. Ashley Evens (USC) 18:43.78.
Men's Gold Division (8K)
TEAM SCORES: 1. Appalachian State 30; 2. Furman 68; 3. Western Carolina 104; 4. Winthrop 111; 5. Campbell 115; 6. College of Charleston 136; 7. The Citadel 154; 8. Wofford 245; 9. Presbyterian 279.
Top 10: 1. Sean Soderman (ASU) 24:38.91; 2. Terence Attema (C) 24:42.65; 3. Will Raby (ASU) 25:10.66; 4. Adam Freudenthal (WU) 25:18.18; 5. Josey Weaver (WCU) 25:30.72; 6. Lee Gilmer (F) 25:31.35; 7. Brandon Hudgins (ASU) 25:38.87; 8. Charles McGoogan (F) 25:41.97; 9. Alex Taylor (ASU) 25:43.06; 10. Nick Kelly (ASU) 25:43.89.
Women's Garnet Division (5K)
TEAM SCORES: 1. Mount Olive 53; 2. Spartanburg Methodist 61; 3. Converse 80; 4. Lees-McRae 101; 5. Belmont Abbey 105; 6. Mars Hill 120; 7. Salem 181; 8. Francis Marion 256; 9. Benedict 269.
Top 10: 1. Hannah Chaney (SMC) 19:28.65; 2. Chelsea Long (MO) 19:39.22; 3. Jessica Postlewaite (C) 20:00.09; 4. Courtney Siefert (MO) 20:10.27; 5. Cassie Adamson (MH) 20:12.17; 6. Olivia Flaggert (BA) 20:33.20; 7. Brittany Hogue (C) 20:36.27; 8. Hannah Henderson (LM) 20:44.68; 9. Kira Shoemaker (LM) 21:24.46; 10. Heidi Hooker (MH) 21:25.51
Men's Garnet Division (8K)
TEAM SCORES: 1. Mars Hill 34; 2. Mount Olive 41; 3. Lees-McRae 70; 4. Spartanburg Methodist 120; 4. Belmont Abbey 120; 6. Newberry 158; 7. Benedict 203; 8. Francis Marion 233.
Top 10: 1. Justin Gragg (MH) 25:49.58; 2. George McCain (MH) 26:09.09; 3. Christopher Powell (MH) 26:09.68; 4. Paul Hoffman (MO) 26:17.05; 5. Craig Simpkins (LM) 26:22.46; 6. James Maloney (MO) 26:33.79; 7. Sondre Thorbergsen (LM) 26:43.70; 8. Kevin Ryan (MO) 26:43.88; 9. Aaron Thomas (MH) 27:01.92; 10. Dalton Souza (MO) 27:03.24.
Women: Biwott (USC); O'Brien (CofC); Mosteller (F); Stroud (WU); Jepngetich (USC); Locke (USC); Evens (USC); Jenna Callahan (F); Nicole Rheinlander (USC); Andrea Kelsey (WC).
Men: Freudenthal (WU); Gilmer (F); McGoogan (F); Alexander Hill (CofC); Chris Caldwell (F); Dickson Toroitich (B); Fitzsimmons (WU); Kyle Keene (The Citadel); Wilkerson Given (F); Christian Bailey (CofC).