BRISTOL, Tenn. – Behind a top-15 time on the 6k course at Friday's Virginia Tech Invitational, Hannah Witt put her and King's name amongst those of some of the top NCAA Division I cross country programs. Witt led the pack of Lady Tornado runners and was supported by her teammates in King's fifth place team finish.
In her first race of the season, Witt, a native of Mountain City, Tenn. (Johnson County H.S.), clocked in a total time of 22:11.41 on the 6k course for a 13th place finish in the field of 87 runners. The senior embedded herself with a group of runners our of Florida State University, who took the top seven spots, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and East Tennessee State University. She finished ahead of six runners out of Georgia Tech by 20 or more seconds and finished in front of all but one member of the host school, Virginia Tech, whom all ran unattached for the event.
Kendra Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) was the second to cross the line for King with a time of 23:16.59, good for a 35th place finish. Evan Ferrell finished third among the team, clocking in at 23:57.62.
Spencer Frantom (Morristown, Tenn.) led the men's team with an 8k time of 26:02.96, finishing 38th out 96 participating. Compared to his previous race at the Berry Invitational on Sept. 1, Frantom erased more than an entire minute off of his 8k time (27:18.75).
Sophomore, Dickson Kurgat (Naidi Hills, Kenya) ran in his first race with the Tornado and represented King with a 50th place show, finishing just behind his teammate with a 26:23.19 time. Dickson and Jordan Noe (Morristown, Tenn.) finished just 15 seconds apart while freshmen Brent Swiney and Garrett Watts each showed personal growth from their debuts two weeks ago.
Swiney, a freshman from Bristol, Va. (John Battle H.S.), also cut more than a minute off his previous time in his first race at the Berry Invitational. He put in a 26:50.82 time at the Virginia Tech Invitational and is beginning to register times to join the trio of Frantom, Kurgat, and Noe.
Fellow freshman Garrett Watts (Fort Blackmore, Va.) improved by more than two minutes from his previous time at the Berry Invite in a major step forward from his first career race.
"This is a major step in the right direction for our teams," said Head Coach Peter Dalton. "I think we represented King very well among some major programs while also improving individually. All of these improvements are signs that we are closer to achieving our goals of a conference and regional championship and our ultimate goal of qualifying for Nationals."
Tornado Cross Country will make its next appearance at the UNC-Charlotte Invitational on Sept. 28 before getting a preview of this year's Conference Championship site, Belmont Abbey on Oct. 5.