Men Run Sixth, Women Seventh at SoCon Championships

For the first time as Southern Conference members, the Mercer Bears hosted the conference championships. The Mercer men came home sixth on Saturday afternoon while the women placed seventh overall.

The Furman Paladins claimed the championship with 20 points. The sixth-place finish by the Bears is their highest as members of the conference.

For Mercer, Vladi Zander-Velloso, who returned to the course after missing the regular season finale, led the Bears with a 24th-place finish and a time of 26:43.69. Not far behind him was Josiah Jaqua, who won at the Georgia Premier Cross Country Course on Oct. 30. Jaqua finished 29th overall, clocking in at 26:55.22. Southern Conference All-Freshman Team member Josh Kraver, the sixth-highest finishing freshman, was timed  at 27:01.30, placing him 32nd overall. Fuad Batteh was the fourth Bear to cross the finish line. Batteh ran the event in 27:10.86 and finished 35thReece Cato was four seconds behind Kraver, running the 8K in 27:14.24, finishing 37th.


24 Vladi Zander-Velloso 26:43.69
29 Josiah Jaqua 26:55.22
32 Josh Kraver 27:01.30
35 Fuad Batteh 27:10.86
37 Reece Cato 27:14.24
48 Mikey Patterson 27:38.43
67 Chris French 28:38.63
73 Diego Lavieri Sosa 29:07.99
76 Rob Zell 29:18.32
81 Camden Abrams 29:34.66
83 Dalton Hollis 30:06.58

“Our guys showed great improvement from one year ago. Vladi [Zander-Velloso] and Josiah [Jaqua] ran well today and paced our squad. I am proud of the effort the team gave this season and am excited for what we’re building in Macon.”

Furman also won the women’s championship, scoring 28 points.

Ashley McMahon paced the Mercer women for their fifth and final event of the season. She secured a top-20 finish with a time of 19:07.18. Not far behind the Fayetteville, Ga. native was senior Marina Van Sickle. Van Sickle crossed the line in 26th (19:22.37) with a new personal best. Guilia Giorgi secured a top-40 position, clocking in at 19:53.89. Whitney Johnson (47th) and Zoe Sanchez (52nd) had race times of 20:29.04 and 20:45.69.


20 Ashley McMahon 19:07.18
26 Marina Van Sickle 19:22.37
39 Giulia Giorgi 19:53.89
47 Whitney Johnson 20:29.04
52 Zoe Sanchez 20:45.69
53 Jerrica Hanson 20:53.89
57 Jaycie Calvert 21:19.86
68 Bella Rhone 22:12.15
73 Isabella LeBlanc 23:55.67

“Ashley has been incredibly consistent for us all season and did a great job pacing the team in each race. I’m happy with our result today and am excited about the improvement that we showed from 2019. We will work hard in the offseason to continue building on this positive momentum.”

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