On Nov. 11, the ETSU cross country teams competed in the NCAA South Region Championships in Tallahassee, Florida at Apalachee Regional Park.
Last season, the women’s team finished 26th out of 30 in the tournament, while the men’s team finished 14th out of 21. This season, the women’s team showed improvement, finishing 23rd out of 30.
The women’s team has been up and down this season. Coming into the NCAA South Region Championships, they finished third out of ten teams in the Southern Conference tournament.
“I think we improved on the men’s and women’s side,” Watts said. “I think the women overachieved in the conference meet. They ranked to finish fourth or fifth, ended up finishing third.”
Individually for the women’s team, senior Victoria Hutchens (Stuart, Va.) finished 81st, the best finish for ETSU. Not too far behind her senior Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) finished in 89th place. Junior Macy Carrier (Bluff City, Tenn.) finished her day in 122nd place. Mississippi State won the tournament on the women’s side with three runners finishing in the top 20. The Bucs finished with an average time of 22 minutes and 49 seconds.
Coming into theNCAA South Region Championships the men finished third in the Southern Conference tournament. In the men’s 10k run, senior Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) finished 54th for the Buccaneers with a time of 32:08.6, which was the best for the Bucs that day. Freshman Adam Bradtmueller (Sarasota, Fl.) did well for his first NCAA tournament, finishing in 64th place with a time of 32:22.5. Sophomore James Garst (Jonesborough, Tenn.) finished in 94th place.
“We improved a little bit in the regionals on the men’s and women’s side, but I would have liked us to have done a little better,” Watts said.
The Bucs as a team finished the tournament meet with an average time of 32:45.44, just 30 seconds away from finishing in the top 10. Mississippi ended up winning the meet with an average time of 30:41.56. Mississippi had five runners finish in the top 15 all upperclassmen.
With this tournament over. this will conclude both teams’ seasons. They will take a break before preparing for next season.
“For the men’s side, we have a young group, so we expect to improve despite losing two of our five top guys,” Watts said. “Our depth should be a factor,”