ROME, Ga. – Men's and Women's Cross Country began the 2012 season on a strong note at the Berry Invitational, held Saturday, Sept. 1, in Rome, Ga. Spencer Frantom and Kendra Sokol paced the regionally-ranked Tornado teams to a pair of fifth place team finishes.
High school national qualifier from John Battle High School, Brent Swiney (Bristol, Va.) posted a great start to his Tornado career. In his first race with the team, Swiney finished 33rd overall with a sub-28-minute time (27:53.27) to highlight the men's freshman class.
King finished fifth overall as a team with 128 points and had an average team finished time of 27:53.24.
Kendra Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) led the Lady Tornado team with an 11th place overall finish on the 6k course. The junior crossed the line at 24:11.13 placing herself in a mix of Mississippi State harriers and the top Division II runner.
Junior Evan Ferrell (Richlands, Va.) posted a top-20 time, finishing the course in 24:28.53. Junior Eliza Parker (Alfred, N.Y.) made a splash in her first race as a part of the team. The transfer from Spartanburg Methodist College assimilated well with the team, contributing the third-best Tornado time at 25:05.87, good for 35th overall.
Like the men, the Lady Tornado finished fifth in the team standings of the 14 teams participating, clocking in an average time of 25:10.99. King, ranked second in the Southeast Region, accomplished the feat and held off No. 3 Clayton State University without its top runner Hannah Witt, who did not participate in the Berry Invitational.
Of the performance, Head Coach Peter Dalton said, "This is a solid start for both teams. That being said, we still have a lot of work to do to reach our end goal. We will continue to train and work on some things to make us a better team for our next race and beyond."
Tornado Cross Country returns to action on Sept. 14 at the Mountaineer Open, hosted by Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.).