After having such success this season, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams had arguably their best showing in the Atlantic Sun Championship meet on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Buckingham Cross Country Course hosted by Florida Gulf Coast.
For the second consecutive year, the women’s cross country team finished in sixth place, with two runners placing in the top 10. This was the first time in Mercer history that the women’s team had placed two individuals in the top 10. The Mercer men’s team finished in fifth overall, the team’s first top-five finish since 2000.
Kacie Niemann and Katlyn Will each finished with times to earn top 10 honors for the Mercer women’s team. This was the first time since 1999 that the women’s team had a competitor finish in the top 10. Both Niemann and Will were named to the A-Sun All Conference team because of their excellent performances.
Niemann took eighth place with a 5K time of 17:47.3, setting yet another Mercer program record. This time was six seconds faster than her previous personal best. Niemann became the only female runner to be named a three-time All-Conference athlete. Will took 10th place with a time of 17:57.5.
For the men’s team, senior Jacob Law finished just shy of the top 10 with an 11th place finish. This was one of his best performances as well, with a Mercer men’s overall record time of 25:23.9 in the 8K race. This made Law the third runner in Mercer men’s history to become a two-time All-Conference selection. Law commented on the work ethic of the entire team, and his record-breaking performance.
“We as a team have been pushing harder than ever before. Our weekly mileage has never been higher over the summer and our intervals have been extremely fast. Running a personal best at conference felt great but was merely the product of having such great training partners and an encouraging team to build me up,” Law said, “Finishing strong at conference my senior year was enthralling, but it’s also hard to leave a team that is progressing at such a quick rate.”
Sophomore Lukas Steinheber took a top-20 finish as well with a time of 25:46.3, which positioned him in 17th place.
“The [Mercer] Cross Country program has been steadily improving each year that I have been here and there are two main factors that I believe contribute to this trend. First and foremost, we have continued to obtain runners that are serious about not only their personal goals but about improving the program as well,” said Law. “Second, we train a little bit harder and farther each season and little by little we have been able to work our way up in the conference. It would be no surprise to me for the team to continue to move up in the conference over the next few years.”
Both the men’s and women’s team look to finish strong as they wrap up their season at the NCAA South Regionals in Tallahassee, Fla. on Friday, Nov. 9.