OXFORD, Ala.—Agnes Scott Cross Country showcased its renewed energy in a stacked field at the Jacksonville State University Struts Season Opener. The Scotties raced to a 13th-place finish despite running in the deepest field they will see in 2019 and displayed a marked improvement from a season ago.
Agnes Scott's youthful roster entered the season with many questions after the program saw only two scoring returners rejoin from the 2018 campaign. The young Scotties answered many of them on day one, most importantly being their ability to not back down from a challenge.
For the second year in a row the Scotties started the season with a Friday night race in the Southern August humidity but rose to the occasion.
First-year Monica Neely (Columbus, Ga.) and sophomore Catherine Ortega (Lawrenceville, Ga.) paced each other the entire race before finishing back-to-back in 91st and 92nd respectively. Neely edged her elder teammate by a half second for a finish of 19:07.70 in the 4K race. Ortega ended the meet in 19:08.10.
Andrea Barron (Chicago, Ill.) timed at 20:16.20, good enough for 103rd in her first collegiate race, while junior Hannah Brendell (Windhoek, Namibia) was the fourth Scottie to cross the line in 20:56.70. First-year Haeden Fura (Winder, Ga.) rounded out the scoring for Agnes Scott in 21:38.40.
SEC power Auburn took the meet handily, followed by Division I programs Troy and North Alabama. Emory was the top Division III program in fourth place overall.
The Scotties are back in action next Saturday when they head to the Middle Georgia Invitational beginning at 9:30 a.m.