CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In their largest non-conference meet of the season, the Mississippi State cross country teams showcased unrivaled performances to claim two first-place team finishes at the Charlotte Invitational on Saturday.
In a field of 30 teams and 206 women, the Lady Bulldogs dominated to earn the Top 2 spots as junior Emma Neigel clocked a 21:24.00 in the 6K Gold Race to finish in first, followed by senior Katie Huston (2nd, 21:27.60). The MSU women also saw leadership from newcomer Lisa Ziegler, who posted a time of 21:47.90 to finish 10th. Juniors Jodie McGuff (21:48.90) and Evie Savage (22:33.80), along with sophomore Madison Milhoan (22:46.80) rounded out the cream of the crop, finishing 11th, 34th and 46th, respectively.
Although coach Houston Franks’ women were running without sophomore standout Cornelia Griesche, they did not lack depth.
“Evie Savage really came through and put us over the top by finishing in the five spot,“ Franks said. “These ladies were racing to win today, and I’m so proud of them. Everyone stepped up.”
Junior Carmen Brothers also finished second for the Lady Bulldogs in the 6K Green Race, running a 22:35.50.
With 58 points, the MSU women topped host-team UNC Charlotte, North Florida, Davidson, Florida State, Miami and other strong programs.
In similar fashion on the men’s side, the Maroon and White squad totaled 48 points to sweep the 8K Gold Race competition. Led by senior John Valentine (3rd, 25:12.20), the Bulldogs landed five in the Top 20 out of 197 athletes. Following Valentine was junior Cameron Vernier (25:19.60) and senior Juan Sanchez (25:32.80), who finished sixth and 10th, respectively. Twins Patrick (15th, 25:38.40) and Andrew Monaghan (19th, 25:41.10) rounded out the Top 20.
The MSU men also saw action in the 8K Green Race as junior Carson Britton sped past competitors for a first-place finish (26:33.70). Coming in third was sophomore Matt Dunn, who posted a time of 26:41.30.
“Both teams really gave it their all today,” Franks said. “This was one of our biggest meets of the year, and to come out and grab the top spots is just outstanding. They’ve worked hard in practice the last two weeks, and today that showed.”
After returning home from the Queen City, the MSU squads will prepare for conference action on Oct. 18 as Alabama hosts the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa.
Winner: Emma Neigel, MSU, 21:24.00
MSU: 2. Katie Huston, 21:27.60; 10. Lisa Ziegler, 21:47.90; 11. Jodie McGuff, 21:48.90; 34. Evie Savage, 22:33.80; 46. Madison Milhoan, 22:46.80
Winner: JJ Webber, Northern Kentucky, 24:47.30
MSU: 3. John Valentine, 25:12.20; 6. Cameron Vernier, 25:19.60; 10. Juan Sanchez, 25:32.80; 15. Patrick Monaghan, 25:38.40; 19. Andrew Monaghan, 25:41.10; 36. Matt Weickert, 26:09.60; 103. Luke Hargreaves, 27:23.40