Central, SC. --- The Truett-McConnell Cross Country team traveled to Southern Wesleyan University this past Saturday to compete in the Southern Wesleyan Invitational. The men's team ran with a shortened-squad due to injuries, but still managed to contend for the overall victory. However, they did come up a little short and had to settle for a third place finish.
"We came up a little short, but not a bad day considering the fact that two of our top five runners were not able to make the trip due to injuries," said Head Coach Jarret Holland. "We need some guys to step up and fill the void created from some of our injured runners. That's a challenge that no one seems to have accepted yet. If we want to accomplish our goals this year, some of our guys are going to have to live up to their potential. The talent is there on paper, but you still have to go out and earn it. We seem to think other teams are going to roll over for us and that's just not the case. Hopefully we can utilize the week off to get ready for the second half of our season. "
The Bears were led by Luis Gonzalez who finished 2nd overall with a time of 26:43. The time was good enough to break a six year individual 8K record for a Truett-McConnell runner. The previous record (26:59) had been held by Roman Drankin and was set in 2006 in El Paso, Texas at the NJCAA National Meet. "Luis has really lived up to the expectations we had for him," said Head Coach Jarret Holland. "He's a very talented runner and he brings his best to every race. As a coach, that's really all you can ask for from your runners. Roman set that record years ago and I'm amazed it's held up for so long. There have been plenty of times I thought it would fall, but we've just never had anyone break it until now. Luis is in a new time zone now and I expect him to get below 26 minutes before season's end. Hopefully we'll have some guys step it up behind him so we can celebrate with some victories as well."
Gonzalez was followed by Cale Pirtle who placed 7th with a time of 27:49. Kevin Kesler finished 10th with a time of 28:15, thus giving the Bears 3 of the top 10 spots in the overall finishing order. Levi Fangmann (21st overall; 29:19) and Joshua Kesler (24th overall; 29:39) rounded out the scoring for the men.
Truett-McConnell's next meet will be on Saturday, October 13 on the campus of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Central. It will be the Bears first appearance in the meet. The men are scheduled to run at 12:00 p.m.