EMORY, Va. - The Emory & Henry College Men's & Women's Cross Country Teams both finished eighth at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship this season. With Head Coach Ian Layne in his first season at the helm, the women's team moved up two spots from its preseason prediction, while the men finished right where they were selected. Despite the men's team being predominantly upperclassmen and the women being mostly underclassmen, both look to have bright futures under Layne.
The men's team started off the season well with a fifth place finish at the ODAC Preview. Junior Michael LoGrande (Alexandria, Va.) led the way for the Wasps with a 21st-place finish in 30:07 despite dangerously hot conditions. However, the women's race was shortened due to the heat. Next up, the teams earned a pair of victories at the 33rd Annual Greensboro Invitational. Senior Alex Cooper (Christiansburg, Va.) ran a 29:11 to win the Division III race, while freshman Erica Grupp (Charlottesville, Va.) was Emory & Henry's number one finisher runner with a time of 21:47 to finish third in the Division III race on the women's side. Not far behind was senior Elizabeth Wilson (Roanoke, Va.), who finished fourth overall with a time of 22:04. This was the second consecutive year that the men won at the invitational.
Later in the season, both the men and women ran in the Piedmont Invitational. In the races, the men finished third out of seven, while the women finished sixth out of nine. Senior Kevin Watts (Stafford, Va.) led the way for E&H on his way to being named ODAC Runner of the Week. This was the Wasps' first honor since 2013.
At the ODAC Championships, the women exceeded their tenth place prediction thanks to Grupp, Wilson, and McKenna Tankersley (Big Stone Gap, Va.) who finished one, two, and three for the Wasps. Grupp and Wilson actually finished first and second in every race for Emory & Henry, which displayed their consistency throughout the year.
On the men's side, sophomore Austin Tolbert (Wytheville, Va.) led the Wasps, turning in a personal-best time of 28:02 at the ODAC meet. Seniors Cooper and Watts finished second and third, respectively, for E&H. Senior Jackson Feezell (Gastonia, N.C.) was dependable on the year, finishing in the top five in four races.
At the Division III South/Southeast Regional Championships, the men's team finished 25th while the women worked their way up to a 23rd-place finish. Tolbert led the Wasps as Grupp once again led the women's side. Both squads will certainly look to improve with some added depth on their rosters.