The Maneater

XC: Menghini leads Missouri women to victory while George paces men to second place finish at Brooks Twilight

Menghini was the top attached scorer at the meet.

Missouri cross country runners prepare for the SEC Championships on Oct. 11.

The Missouri men’s and women’s cross country teams opened their respective seasons on Saturday at the Brooks Twilight Classic in Memphis, Tenn. Heading into the season, expectations were moderate at best, as both squads were voted ninth in the Southeastern Conference preseason poll. In the 14-team league, 11 schools field men’s teams, while 13 have a women’s team.

On Saturday, the men’s squad was paced by redshirt junior Thomas George, a native of Gloucester, England. George took home All-Midwest regional honors last season and proved he is ready to compete at a high level once again this year. He led Missouri and finished third in the overall field, with a 4-mile time of 20:14:04.

Junior Kieran Wood, also from England, finished close behind him with a time of 20:36:15. Collectively, the men placed second at the event.

The women’s team also retained significant talent from last year’s squad, which claimed a fourth place finish at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Regional Championships. Redshirt junior Sophia Racette and sophomore Jenna Lutzow returned, each coming off top-60 finishes at last year’s SEC championships.

The Tiger women finished first at the opening meet but got the bulk of their production from several unlikely sources, including junior Melissa Menghini. She placed second in the women’s portion of the event and was the top attached scorer. The Fenton, Missouri, native finished a 5K in 17:46:88. Several freshmen were also pleasant surprises, especially Mikayla Reed, who finished sixth, and Tori Findley, who came in seventh.

The Tigers will look to continue their momentum with a Sept. 14 meet at the Illinois State Invitational in Normal, Illinois.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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