Junior Kate Mattison and freshman Drew Zink led the Western Carolina cross country teams at the season-opening Mercer Invitational held at the Georgia Premier Cross Country course on Friday afternoon.
Mattison, a native of Oconee, Ga., completed the 5k course with a time of 19:09 to finish in fifth place. It is her first career top-five finish. Junior Caroline Schoessow placed 14th with a new personal best time of 19:56. Junior Peyton Wood crossed the finish line in 18th with a finishing time of 20:28 closely followed by classmate Jamie Blaylock in 19th with a time of 20:34. Freshman Sydney Runyan completed her first collegiate race with a finishing time of 21:21 for a 23rd-place result in WCU’s final scoring position.
Zink, in his first collegiate meet, paced the Catamounts in the 8k race to finish in 16th with a time of 27:50. Sophomore Clay Summers finished 19th with a time of 28:03 ahead of classmate Fletcher Bost in 25th with a time of 29:05. Junior Joshua Stapleton placed 34th with a time of 32:48.
“It was exciting to open our season today after so many delays,” said head coach Jesse Norman. “We were close on the women’s side, we just got beat in depth. I’m excited about Kate’s finish today.”
The Catamounts conclude the 2020 cross country season on Nov. 21 at the Southern Conference Cross Country Championship in Macon.