The Trojan cross country teams christened the 2016 season with a first-place finish for the men and second place for the women in Dothan on Saturday, Sept. 24.
The Trojan XC Invitational, which featured two men’s teams and three women’s teams, was Troy’s first home competition of the year.
On the men’s side, Troy raced against Miles College, while the women faced Miles and Sun Belt Conference opponent Georgia State.
Of the 13 competitors, all six Trojans competing in the meet finished in places one through six. Combined, those runners finished with an average time of 29:00.99. Sophomore Zachary Bias took first with a 27:55.58 finish, followed by junior Eric Schueller and his time of 28:08.90.
Bias was also the first Trojan since Kirui Enock Jr. to finish first at an event.
Freshman John Webb nabbed third place with a time of 29:23.98.
The slowest Trojan was 43 seconds faster than his nearest opponent in the race.
“The men continue to progress and show signs of being a complete team,” said Head Coach Elliott Blount. “We were able to come away with the victory in our first defense of the home course while sitting out key players. I do anticipate a few who competed today to help us out against tougher foes, but today was a day to get a win.”
The women took second overall, with an average time of 21:09.47. The women finished just behind Georgia State, which had a 19:50.47 average.
Senior Samantha Smith finished the day in fourth place, with her name next to a time of 20:01.90. Junior Sarah Zylstra was the second Trojan to finish, taking eighth place with a time of 20:56.52.
“Our women showed signs of life after a tough start to the season,” said Blount. “It was very hot out there, so basing the performance on time wouldn’t be prudent. Our effort was there. There is still a lot a work to do over the course of the next two meets, but definitely a step forward.”
The Trojans will return to action on Friday, Oct. 7, when they travel to Tallahassee, Florida, to compete in the FSU Invitational.