Winthrop University

Eagle XC men, women 2nd

Winthrop finished second in the women's race, led by Carey Phillips (244) in fourth.
Winthrop finished second in the women's race, led by Carey Phillips (244) in fourth.

Furman ran off with first-place plaques in both the men's and women's races at the Asics/Winthrop Fall Classic cross country meet on Saturday. The Paladins' Patrick Morgan won the men's 6k race and Megan Lordi was first in the women's 4k.

Winthrop finished second in both races.

Morgan said his team did great and hopes the success will carry over to the Southern Conference meet in two weeks at Wofford.

"This is a good course, flat," Morgan said after posting a winning time of 18:41. He finished 11 seconds ahead of former Winthrop All-American Matt Elliott, who ran unattached.

"Elliott was running with me near the two-mile mark. I heard him breathing and pushed it a little. He didn't respond with a push, so I kept going."

Elliott was followed by Furman's Alex Plasencia, then Winthrop alum Brad Orr, who also ran unattached.

Gaines Bailey finished eighth with a time of 19:33. He employed his favorite strategy in the race.

"I go out slow and accelerate through the race. I want to keep passing people," the senior said.

He passed teammate Casey Lyons, the Eagles' No. 1 runner this season, around the back of the course. Bailey didn't know Lyons was having trouble.

Lyons suffered a lower left leg injury and did not finish the race. Winthrop coach Ben Paxton feared the injury was serious, maybe even a fracture.

"It happened at the very bottom of the golf course," Paxton said. The cross country team uses the Winthrop golf course as part of the route for meets.

Eagles runner Ben Henderson finished in 12th place. He saw Lyons lying down clutching his leg when he ran by him.

Winthrop's athletic trainers followed the race in a cart and tended to Lyons. Paxton made his way from the finish line to Lyons soon afterward.

"He was in fifth or sixth place at the time. He was in pain and very upset," Paxton said.

Lyons called Winthrop officials from the Piedmont Medical Center after the race. He said he felt a pop in his lower left leg. He ran another 20 or 30 yards and fell to the ground.

He'll have an MRI next week to learn the extent of the injury. It appears he will miss the Big South Conference meet at Liberty in two weeks at the least.

The women's start was delayed about 10 minutes as Lyons was transported from the course to an ambulance.

"They all knew Casey was hurt. I think it took the wind out of them," Paxton said of his women's team.

Lordi, fresh off being named the Southern Conference Runner of the Week, won the women's race with a time of 14:21. She said the 4k distance is harder to determine when to pick up the pace.

"I just went out like normal, but I picked up the pace earlier," Lordi said.

Furman's Lauren Tomory finished second. She was featured in the "Faces in the Crowd" section of the latest Sports Illustrated. Chloe Kowalski finished third and gave the Paladins the top three spots.

Carey Phillips was Winthrop's top finisher. She placed fourth with a time of 15:17, 56 seconds behind Lordi.

Former Fort Mill High School standout Jenna Callahan is a sophomore at Furman. She finished ninth at 15:41.