The Trojan cross country teams competed at the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Championships on Sunday, Nov. 1, at Nash Farm Battlefield in Hampton, Georgia.
The men’s team earned a disappointing finish in last place out of nine teams, while the women came in eighth place of 11.
Since the start of the season, the teams worked hard to prepare for this particular race. Although both teams made progress throughout their season, their performance at this event did not reflect that improvement.
“We had a real opportunity to improve substantially at the conference meet this year, so the overall result was disappointing,” head coach Elliott Blount said. “The success and progress we’ve made this season simply didn’t show on the course today.”
The Troy men’s team came in ninth place in the 8K race with an average time of 28:37, almost a full minute slower than the eighth-place competitor. Of the seven Trojan male runners, freshman Ryan DeGale finished first, coming in at 27:26.4.
A minute and two seconds later came freshman Brennan Garriques, and freshman Kyle Norris rounded out Troy’s top three at 28:33.4. The rankings for the Trojan men further solidified this year’s tendency of freshmen paving the way.
On the other hand, the more experienced collegiate athletes have led the Troy women. Junior Samantha Smith headed up her team, coming in first of the Troy women at 19:32.4. Shortly after was sophomore Sarah Zylstra at 19:46.8.
Junior Mikayla Hodges finished third of her team, with a time of 19:53. The Trojans performed better this year than last, as their seven runners placed eighth of 11 teams in the 5K race and their average time was 20:02.
With a strong base on both sides, especially with the men’s team being so young, next season looks to be even better than this year.