Both of the Mercer men’s and women’s cross country teams finished very well at the 2012 Will Wilson Citadel Invitational held on Saturday, Oct. 16. The men’s team took first overall while the women’s team came in second.
These results would be the best for both teams this season. The men had five top ten finishers and the women placed three. Going into the Atlantic Sun Championship, this performance was just what the Bears needed.
Individually, both the men’s and women’s teams had runners place in second and third. Sophomore Lukas Steinheber and senior Jacob Law paced the Bears with two of the top three times on the day.
Steinheber set a new record for Mercer at the 8k distance with a time of 25:14.95. This was also his personal best time.
Law’s time of 25:43.33 was good enough for third place overall and was about 15 seconds faster than fellow teammate Sony Prosper who finished sixth with a time of 25:58.72.
Freshman Hunter Honeycutt and senior Andrew Weems also had top ten finishes for the Bears. Their finishes helped the team obtain an average time of 25:53.52, which is the second-best average for an away race in the program’s history.
On the women’s side, seniors Kacie Niemann and Katlyn Will again battled for top honors with Will getting the best of Niemann on Saturday.
“It has been awesome to run with Kacie this year,” said Will. “She is a great training partner. She has helped me push harder in training, which has helped me achieve my personal goals. She is very encouraging and motivating.”
Will finished with a time of 17:42.42 which ranks as the top finish ever for a Mercer female cross country competitor at the 5k distance, and her personal best.
Will commented on her performance,“It felt awesome to achieve my best time. The best time that I beat this past weekend was a personal record that I set my freshman year, so it was great when all the hard work that I have put in paid off. But of course, all the glory and honor goes to God. I could not have run as fast as I did without his help.”
Niemann was not too far behind her, posting a time of 17:58.67 for her third sub-18 minute finish of the season. Junior Lena Hamvas also had a solid showing, placing in the top 10 at eighth overall with a time of 18:30.53.
As a team, the women posted an average time of 18:41.98 for second place overall and in the process, set the team record for the best team average.
The Bears will take the next week to prepare vigorously for the A-Sun Championships that take place on Oct. 27 in Ft. Myers, Fla.