ROCKY MOUNT, N.C.—It was a banner day for Agnes Scott Cross Country, racing to many personal bests on its way to a second-consecutive seventh-place finish in the USA South Conference Championships. First-year Monica Neely (Columbus, Ga.) was the top Scottie as she has been all season long, coming in 31st overall in the 6k race.
The Scotties had a bit of an edge to them heading into Saturday championship after feeling slighted in the conference's new season rankings, which are voted on by the league's coaches. Despite a top-seven performance a season ago, Agnes Scott never ranked better than ninth during the season.
Agnes Scott responded by surpassing Mary Baldwin and N.C. Wesleyan when it mattered with personal bests from all five of its scoring runners.
Neely's efforts atop the lineup have helped the Scotties all season and Saturday was no different for the rookie harrier, registering a time of 26:30.41—a full 45 seconds better than a previous best at the distance.
Catherine Ortega (Lawrenceville, Ga.) came in 45th place with a time of 27:45.8, shaving almost two full minutes of her previous best in a 6k. Ortega's performance was even more impressive when noted she missed the team's 6K warmup at Berry two weeks ago.
Arin Yost (Houston, Texas) also set a blazing pace by taking off almost two minutes from their time at Berry in mid-October. Yost sprinted to a 28:00.6 time, good enough for 48th—also a career-best in a meet of this magnitude.
Andrea Barron (Chicago, Ill.), Isabel Gaspar (Chicago, Ill.) and Haeden Fura (Winder, Ga.) clearly stuck to the team's game plan of running in a pack, as the trio of newcomers all finished with 16 seconds of each other. Barron ended up crossing the finish line just 12 seconds after Yost before Gaspar edged Fura for 54th with a time of 28:26.
"I could not be more happy with how this team raced today," said second-year head coach Molly Carl. "We worked all week on race plans and goals as a team, and they did their job and took advantage of the fast course."
Berea, as projected, took home the team championship with 41 total points. The Mountaineers final scorer finished 13th individually in the race. Covenant was a distant second following by Piedmont with 86 and 92 points each.
"Not only did we beat our rank but each person ran a personal best today. We came and did exactly what we wanted to do," added Carl. "I could not ask for much more as a coach."
The Scotties will be back in action in two weeks when they head to Memphis for the NCAA Division III Southeast Regional Championship hosted by Rhodes College on November 16.