Cross country freshmen rise up
Young talent is always exciting to watch. Georgia College runners are certainly no exception to the rule.
The Bobcat cross country team hit the trails last Saturday for the Peach Belt Championship in Montevallo, Ala. The men’s team placed sixth and the women’s placed fifth out of 10 teams total. The freshman team members rose to take center stage during the event.
On the women’s side, freshman mass communication major Taylor Roeck finished 15th among 91 other runners with a time of 23:34, placing her as the holder of the second fastest 6K time in GC history.
“It feels pretty good to make that time,” Roeck said. “I definitely didn’t expect that to happen.”
Roeck was awarded GC athlete of the week for her performance, making it the second time she has received the award this season.
Coming behind Roeck in 26th place was freshman Lena White, clocking in at 24:12. Allison Lones followed in 32nd place with a time of 24:19.
The fifth place spot for the women’s team is the highest rank they’ve had since 2009.
Leading the charge for the men’s team was junior Philip Laskey with a time of 26:59 for the 8K, placing him in 19th place among 84 runners.
“I would’ve liked to make the All-Conference team,” Laskey said. “I would’ve had to make 14th place for that. But I’m not upset with myself and my performance.”
Laskey has come in first for the Bobcats in all five races this season. This week, he was placed on the PBC All-Academic team. To be on the team, a student athlete must significantly contribute to a sport and have at least a 3.3 GPA.
Coming in close behind Laskey was freshman James Ryden, crossing the finish line with a time of 27:17, his best performance of the year. Ryden placed 23rd overall.
Freshman Paul McNeil came in 33rd with a time of 27:49 and was followed by junior Tucker Forbes in 39th with a time of 28:14.
The men’s team enjoyed cooler weather during their race at 9 a.m.
“It was cold when we got out there in the morning, but it felt really good by the time we started the race,” Laskey said. “Weather doesn’t generally affect me too much. But I don’t like it when it’s really cold.”
By the time the women’s race began only 45 minutes later, the sun was in full force and the heat made it difficult to run.
“It was so hot,” Roeck said. “The sun made it really hard to run. … That combined with how hard the course was made it a tough race.”
According to Roeck, the team had jogged the course last Friday night to gain a feel for the layout and difficulty of the trails, but when race time came, the hills that seemed so easy the night before became a challenge.
Despite any difficulties with the race, coach Joe Samprone couldn’t be happier with the team’s performance.
“Things are really looking well for us right now,” Samprone said. “I’m so proud of both the men’s and women’s teams. And I’m proud of the freshmen on the team. It’s been a sort of rebuilding year, especially for the men. I know we are going to have a great future.”
As the last race of the fall season quickly approaches, Samprone emphasizes the importance of runners remaining healthy and consistent with their previous performances.
“I always say you’re one injury or illness away from a disaster,” Samprone said. “So right now we are just trying to take it easy and maintain the level of performance we’ve had. Avoiding anything unusual or dangerous will keep our runners healthy, and we have to keep them as well rested as we can.”
The cross country team travels to the NCAA Southeast Regional race held in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 3.