Mountaineer cross country teams finish first at Wildcat XC Classic


Courtesy of App State Athletics

The Mountaineer women’s cross country team celebrates their first place finish at the Wildcat XC Classic. The women secured nine of the top 10 spots en route to their victory.

Ben Beechhold, Reporter

App State’s cross country teams competed in the Wildcat XC Classic in Charlotte Friday. Both teams finished in first place out of eight teams. The women’s team had 20 points and the men’s team had 22.

The Wildcat XC Classic took place at McAlpine Creek Park and was hosted by Johnson and Wales University. The meet featured eight schools in total, including Monroe College, Shaw University, Saint Augustine University, Warren Wilson College, Johnson and Wales University, Cleveland Community College and Allen University. The Mountaineers placed first in both events, but Monroe’s Mohlouwa Koos Molutsi and Aaliyah Moore each placed first individually.

The men’s cross country team poses after capturing a first place finish at the Wildcat XC Classic. Five men finished within the top five at the event. (Courtesy of App State Athletics)

Behind five top 10 individual performances, the men’s team took home first place. Freshman Jackson Nichols, third place, crossed the finish line first for the Mountaineers, setting a new personal record of 25:11.1. Junior Caleb Kirchhoff followed right behind, finishing fourth at 25:22.2, a new personal record for him also. Clocking his fastest time of the season, sophomore Ben Datte placed fifth at 25:43.5. Rounding out the top 10, Sophomore Jonah Morris set a new personal record, placing ninth overall at 25:57.6 and freshman Michael Maron finished 10th with a time of 25:59.3. 

Led by sophomore Savannah McIntosh, the women’s team took home first place as they had nine runners in the top 10. McIntosh finished second, clocking a personal record of 18:21.2. Following right behind her, graduate student Ali Esparza, third place, set a new personal record of 18:23.3. Junior Taylor Houston came in fourth with a time of 18:54.9, also setting a new personal record. Freshman Linnea Maynard, fifth place, and freshman Abby Granberg, sixth place, had finishes of 19:03.8 and 19:08.0, respectively, each clocking personal records as well. Junior Madi Christy finished in seventh at 19:12.0, and freshman Lana Farris finished in eighth at 19:12.5. Rounding out the top 10, junior Abby Lee, ninth place, clocked a time of 19:23.2  and freshman Morgan Kornke, 10th place, clocked 19:30.3. Both runners set new personal records.

“Very happy with the way the team performed today,” head coach Michael Curcio said. “We saw some PR’s and season bests.”

The men’s and women’s teams return to action in Mobile, Alabama, Oct. 29, where they will compete for the Sun Belt Championship.