With autumn finally coming into season, the Southern Conference Championship is just around the corner for the fall sports. Cross country is preparing themselves on the course now to get a feel for the grounds.

Both teams have been very consistent this season placing in the top five both meets. The men’s team placed 4th in their opening race at the Covered Bridge Open and 3rd in their past race at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational. The women’s team have placed 5th in both races.

At the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational, two first year runners for ETSU led the way. Freshman Ben Varghese (Kingsport, Tennessee) led ETSU, finishing 5th place out of 147 contestants, posting a time of 25:03 and averaging a 5:03 mile time.

Freshman Lindsey Stallworth (Knoxville, Tennessee) led the pack for the women’s team, placing 11th out of 116 contestants and posting a total time of 22:08 and an average mile of 5:56.

Leading up to this event Head Coach George Watts has been pleased with his teams’ improvement and performances.

“Between our first two meets, we have seen a quite of bit of improvement,” Watts said. “Ben Varghese has been our best runner this year as he beat out some great runners from Florida State and Virginia Tech.”

Coach Watts scheduled this meet for certain reasons and believes this meet will give his runners a comfort level and familiarity for when they compete at the Southern Conference Championships.

“It makes sense for us to run on the course. That is where we will run the conference championship at,” Watts said. “Competition will not be as strong at this event and hopefully that will give us a chance to run ahead. I am interested to see how they handle that.”

For the men’s and women’s third cross country meet, they traveled to Spartansburg, South Carolina Saturday to take part in the USC Upstate Invitational. The men’s and women’s teams both took first place in the Invitational.

The next race will be Oct.13 at the HPU Vert XC Invitational in Kernersville, North Carolina.