MU cross country freshmen showcase talent in season opener at Commodore Classic

Men finish second and women finish third against SEC competition.

MU cross country traveled to the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday to compete against four other Southeastern Conference teams in its first meet of the preseason, and the result was two top three finishes, with the men’s team placing second out of five teams and the women coming in third out of four teams.

Coach Marc Burns predicted a freshmen presence in the scoring group on the men’s side.

“Look for some new names in our top five this weekend,” Burns said in a media availability earlier this week.

His prediction was correct. Led by a third place finish from freshman William Sinclair, the men’s team landed four runners in the top ten. Redshirt senior Kieran Wood placed fifth in 24:54.1, and juniors Marquette Wilhite and Martin Prodanov came in seventh and eighth. Freshman Jack Warner was the final scorer, stopping the clock at 25:47 in 20th. The team finished with 42 points in the 7.9K race, 16 points behind Kentucky and ahead of Vanderbilt, Alabama, and Auburn.

Prior to the women’s race, senior Sarah Chapman expressed anticipation at the opportunity to travel and compete.

“I know for me, I’m extremely happy to be back because I was twiddling my thumbs at home.” Chapman said.

Her patience paid off with a second place performance in the women’s 6.08K race, followed by sophomore Ginger Murnieks in seventh. Freshman McKenna Revord debuted her collegiate career as the third scorer for the women in 13th place with a time of 22:06.1. Junior Lexi Maddox and senior Karina Liz rounded off the top five in 23rd and 25th, capping the team’s score at 61 points.

“Our women ran well up front but we will need to figure out how to be better from 3-5 if we want to be a factor at SEC’s,” Burns said. “We have the ability to do it and it is just a matter of time for us to put it together on race day.”

Freshmen Ryan Mata, Angus Beer, and Luke Winkler also made their first appearances in the black and gold uniforms. Freshman Davis Helmerich did not compete due to contact tracing, but is expected to race at the upcoming home meet.

“Overall we are thankful to be on the road competing,” Burns said of the team’s performance. “These experiences are a big part of the development of our team.”

The Tigers will return to Columbia to compete in the Gans Creek Classic Oct. 3 for their first of two home meets before the Southeastern Conference Championship.

Edited by Jack Soble | jsoble@themaneater.com

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