Double first-place finishes give cross-country teams top spots

The Bruins cross-country teams competed in the Toccoa Falls College Eagle Invitational last weekend in Toccoa Falls, Ga. The teams have finished among the leaders in the last several meets, and Saturday was no different.

The women began their 5K at 9 a.m., and senior captain Abby Stanley got out in front early, taking first place with a time of 20:39. “We started out in a tight bottle-neck, so I had to push to the front fast,” she said. “The rest of the race we just focused on not getting lost and keeping a gap open.”

Senior Meg Phillipo stayed close behind and secured third place at 20:43. “Meg pulled into second around mile one-and-a-half and we cruised from there,” Stanley said. “She paced me really well.” Four Bruins finished in the top 10 as the women took second place overall, making this the third straight week that they have finished in the top three.

The men’s team ran their 8K race shortly after the women concluded. Senior captain Aaron Iles ran a solid race, taking his third straight first-place finish and coming in over a minute ahead of the second-place runner. “Coach Bright wanted me to take the lead early and run ‘as if 500 men were bearing down’ on me,” Iles said. “I took the first mile slow and pulled ahead heading into mile two, and then just maintained it until the end.”

Nathan Zakariasen and Daniel Marinelli finished in third and fifth to give the Bruins men’s team first place overall.

The Bruins will return to Toccoa Falls College for another meet on Nov. 2, the last  meet before the NCCAA Nationals.