Aaron Isbell paced the Chattanooga men’s cross country team Saturday morning at the Live in Lou Cross Country Classic and Emma Russum led the women at the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky.
The men placed 20th overall in the Blue race, just behind Southern Conference foe Samford (19) and ahead of Western Carolina (28). Five runners set personal bests in the men’s race. The women finished 34th in the field of 41 in the Gold race. The SoCon’s defending league champion Furman took first in the top tier race, Samford was 12th and ETSU placed 19th. UTC placed ahead of North Alabama (36), Western Carolina (39) and Indiana State (41).
“We had hoped for both teams to place a little higher,” Mocs head coach Andy Meyer said. “We had several kids race really well and a few key kids had off days.”
Isbell was 44th overall with a time of 25:08.1 and Jonathan Boyd was the second UTC runner across the line in 83rd with a time of 25:33.7.
Jasper Wilson was one of five UTC runners who ran a PR, topping the times set two weeks ago at the North Alabama Showcase. Wilson was nearly 40 seconds faster with a time of 25:43.6 while newcomer Erik Martinez posted a PR 26:01.0, a more than 30 second improvement. Ryan Phillips was the fifth scoring runner to finish for the Mocs with a time of 26:21.8.
Eric Mitchell (26:25.7), Lane Hollis (26:29.8) and Caleb Jarrett (26:34.0) also set personal best times at the Louisville meet Saturday.
“Jasper, both Eric [Mitchell] and Erik [Martinez] and Lane [Hollis] all had very good races,” Meyer said. “Jonathan was his usual steady self. We had a couple kids who didn’t run great but just not to their expectations.”
The women competed against the best in the field in the Gold race. Emma Russum led Chattanooga with a time of 18:15.7, placing 124 and freshman Maddie Wheatcroft was the second UTC competitor across the line at 159th overall with a time of 18:30.6. Leah Boyd, at 170, covered the 5-kilometer course in a time of 18:34.0.
Faith Brown was just six seconds off her PR placing 231 with a time of 18:57.5. Andrea Ellis was the final scoring runner for the Mocs placing 299th with a time of 19:28.1 while Lexi Foley with a time of 19:57.8, ran her first collegiate 5K.
“The girls were in a very strong field and a little of our youth showed. Leah Boyd run a good race. Faith ran well. Emma and Maddie did not run poorly but they did not perform as they had hoped,” Meyer said.
The Mocs are back in action at home in two weeks on October 14. This will be UTC’s first home meet since 2019. The Chattanooga Invitational will start at 9:00 a.m. at Camp Jordan.
“We learned some things today about pace and pack running,” Meyer said. “We will be working hard for our home meet in two weeks.”