Boone, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's cross country team turned in a seventh-place performance, while the women were eleventh, Friday during the season-opening Covered Bridge Open hosted by Appalachian State from the Don Kennedy Trails at State Farm Fields.
The men compiled 207 points with a total time of 1:53:46.32, and the women finished with 261 points and a time of 1:49:44.40. Wake Forest won both the men's and women's team competition.
"We got a good idea of where our fitness is at," said associate head coach Carson Blackwelder. "We now know what we need to work on."
The men's race was run in a different format this season compared to year's past, with the course laying out at 6,400-meters. Griffin Eubanks, running in his first meet as a Spartan, led the men with a 31st place finish after tallying a time of 21:50.81. He was followed in 43rd place by Alex Love after he crossed the finish line in 22:07.02. Riley Doherty was the third-fastest runner for Upstate after his time of 23:08.31 followed by freshmen Dan Castello and Martin Morrow with times of 23:18.19 and 23:21.99, respectively. Cody Ellison and Jacob Collins finished right behind each other following their times of 23:50.36 and 23:51.83. Joey Daversa (24:18.86), Theodore Kountourogiannis (24:37.12) and Logan Ray (24:52.53) completed the competition for the Spartan men.
Jasmine Polite paced the Upstate women as she ran the 5K course in 20:14.44, good enough for a 28th place finish. Anastasia Kolesnitchenko concluded the race in 41st place with a time of 20:47.23. Rebecca Elliott posted the third-best time for the Spartans with a 22:44.40, and was followed by Ashleigh Torres (22:50.78) and Molly Bliss (23:07.55). Essence Jackson was the sixth-fastest runner for Upstate after running a 23:23.70. Freshmen Storm-Alexis Gandy and Kelsey Warren rounded out the meet for the Spartans with times of 24:21.00 and 25:11.07.
Upstate returns to the course Friday, Sept. 5 when it hosts the Eye Opener Invitational from the Roger Milliken Center in Spartanburg. The women's 5K race begins at 6:30 p.m. followed the men's 8K at 7 p.m. For more information about the Eye Opener Invitational, click here.
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