The Mercer men’s and women’s cross country teams competed recently at the Georgia Intercollegiate Invitational picking several individual accomplishments from some of the Bears’ top runners.
In the women’s races, junior Kacie Niemann broke her own Mercer record in the 5K, and won the race which featured 33 runners from some of the state’s top track and field programs. Niemann recorded a time of 17:23.92, which was nearly five seconds faster than her next competitor and 25 seconds better than her previous personal best and Mercer record.
Niemann paced the lead group from the start, but established herself as the woman to beat around the one-mile mark when she extended her lead to nearly 10 meters. Her lead had increased to 25 meters during the second mile before the chase pack began to string out.
In the third mile, Georgia Tech’s Katie Townsend picked up her pace to close in on Niemann and set herself up to try make a move in the final half mile. Townsend would get as close as two meters before Niemann shut the door and finished the race with the fastest lap of the race to win.
Sophomore Kylen Hughes and junior Kasie Knapper took second and third respectively in the 3,000 meter steeplechase for the Bears.
The men’s cross country team had several individuals perform well at the race also. Junior Andrew Weems placed second in the men’s 3,000 meter with a time of 10:00.63 and the Bears’ took the ninth through 15th positions in the 5K.
Junior Jacob Law led the Mercer pack in the 5k, finishing in ninth overall with a time of 15:27.52.
The Bears continued their spring season at the University of Georgia relays. Mercer participated on a limited basis in the 10K and 3K steeplechase races.
On the men’s side, freshman Josh Pendley won the 10K race with a time of 32:28.67. Freshmen Jeff Law and Austin Pfeifer finished sixth and seventh respectively. Junior Andrew Weems finished sixth in the 3000M steeplechase.
In the women’s races, Kacie Niemann won her 5K race, breaking her previously set record with a time of 17:22.53. Juniors Kylen Hughes and Kasie Knapper finished seventh and eighth respectively in their 3000 meter steeplechase race.
The men and women will continue their spring season traveling to Emory University in Atlanta for the Emory Classic. The teams will be looking to set more Mercer records in preparation for next year’s cross country season.