GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Newberry closed out the 2005 cross country season with peaking performances from both teams as the men finished seventh and the women placed eighth at the 2005 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Cross Country Championships, held Saturday morning at the Greene Valley Development Center.
Jack Holden led the men’s team with a34th place finish, running a time of 29:59.47. Bobby Burgess and Josh Smith followed Holden with a 50th and 51st place finish with times of 32:20.65 and 32:43.43, respectively. Burgess’ time is a career best for him. The Indians finished seventh in the championship meet with Catawba not finishing in the team scoring.
On the women’s side, Laura Banda was just shy of her season best with a time of 21:50.84, finishing 30th. Olga Kuzmenkova placed 45th with a time of 23:02.82 as the women’s team recorded one of their best performances of the year and coming close to one of their best finishes in history.
The Lady Eagles recorded 47 points, edging second place Mars Hill by one point in the narrowest margin of victory in the 13-year history of the women's championship. C-N placed four runners in the top 10 as it captures its fifth SAC title and first since 2002, the last time the championship was contested in Greeneville.
MHC's Rachel Retallick finished first with a time of 19:01.52 on the 5,000-meter course to claim SAC Runner of the Year honors. Retallick, who was also named the 2005 SAC Scholar Athlete for Women's Cross Country for a third time in her career, joined teammate Kate Prichard on the All-SAC First Team.
C-N's Marqaux Cowan-Banker finished third with a time of 19:26.05, while teammate Vanessa Gibson placed fourth at 19:31.05. C-N rookie Aubrey Morris rounded out the top five at 19:44.40 and was named SAC Freshman Runner of the Year.
Wingate's Natalie Creech (19:48.55) and Lenoir-Rhyne's Whitney Heavner (19:59.31) complete the All-Conference First Team.
Ashley Condrey of Wingate finished eighth, followed by Gennilee Eisenmann (Lenoir-Rhyne), Lisa Massey (Carson-Newman), Rori Godsey (Catawba), Erin McKee (Mars Hill), Amber Hines (Wingate), and Karen Porter (Wingate) make up the All-SAC Second Team.
In the team competition, Wingate finished third with 58 points, followed by Lenoir-Rhyne (98), host Tusculum (142), Presbyterian (158), Catawba (177) and Newberry (197).
Carson-Newman head coach Whitney Lee was named SAC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.
Joining Morris on the five-person SAC All-Freshmen squad are Condrey, Eisenmann, Hines and Tusculum's Alicja Dembna.
In the men's championship, Mars Hill recorded the top four runners and five of the top six as the Lions claimed their ninth consecutive SAC title. Mars Hill tied a championship record with 16 points, matching the best score which the Lions posted in 1998 SAC meet.
MHC's Daniel Amick was named the SAC Runner of the Year as he won the 8,000-meter race with a course-record time of 25:44.87. SAC Scholar Athlete of the Year Jon Stoehr finished second for the Lions with a time of 25:49.86, which also bested the previous course record. MHC's James Thompson (26:08.56) and Dustin Whitlow (26:31.25) finished third and fourth, respectively.
Carson-Newman's Ryan Althaus finished fifth, followed by Mars Hill's Elliott Austin and Matthew Elliott of Presbyterian to round out the All-SAC First Team.
The All-SAC Second Team consists of Jose Zavala (Lenoir-Rhyne), Jayce Watson (Wingate), Tyler Wilkinson (Mars Hill), Adam Stewart (Lenoir-Rhyne), Brandon DiBianca (Wingate), Dave Jaeger (Mars Hill) and Jon Sharp (Lenoir-Rhyne). Watson was also the top rookie finisher in the men's championship and was named SAC Freshman Runner of the Year.
Joining Watson on the 2005 SAC All-Freshmen Team are Jaeger, John Halter (Mars Hill), David Sommers (Wingate) and Brad Johnson (Lenoir-Rhyne).
For an incredible 10th consecutive time, Mars Hill's Mike Owens was named the SAC Coach of the Year.
Lenoir-Rhyne finished second with 65 points, followed by Wingate (79), Presbyterian (126), Carson-Newman (130), Tusculum (152), Newberry (186) and Catawba (did not score).