Witt takes Conference Carolinas title, Tornado repeat as champs

CONCORD, N.C. – The King University women's cross country team successfully defended its 2012 Conference Carolinas championship on Friday at Frank Liske Park, winning the 2013 conference title behind a stellar run from conference champion Hannah Witt.

Witt, who missed the majority of last season due to injury, won her first conference championship by an astounding 33 seconds over her next closest competitor, finishing in 17:40.08. After setting a new school record in her last event, Witt ran the second-fastest time in Tornado history on Friday, and now owns four of the top five times ever run by a King athlete.

Kendra Sokol set a personal record to finish in the sixth position overall in 18:47.15. Evan Ferrell and Eliza Parker finished in the ninth and 11th positions, respectively, less than six seconds apart. Tiffany Gargiulo was the final scorer for the Tornado in 18th position in 20:04.30.

King has now won two consecutive Conference Carolinas championships and, since the Tornado began NCAA Division II competition in 2011, the team has two conference championships and a runner-up performance in three seasons.

Witt was impressive in leading the race from the start, stretching out a modest lead into an insurmountable advantage by the two-mile marker. Her pace was 18 seconds off her school record performance from two weeks ago.

Based on the results, Witt was first team all-conference and Conference Carolinas Runner of the Year. Sokol and Ferrell earned second team honors while Parker garnered third team honors. Head coach Peter Dalton was also named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year for the second straight season.

With the regular season and conference championships now complete, the Tornado will set their sights on the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C. on November 9. The venue is the same as this month's Royal Cross Country Challenge, which saw all six Tornado athletes that competed set personal records.