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Women’s cross country sets course best at Lancer Pink Invitational

FARMVILLE, Virginia – In a preview of the Big South Cross Country Championship towards the end of October, Longwood Men’s and Women’s Cross Country hosted the Lancer Pink Invitational on Saturday morning. The Lancer men and women both finished second in the pack with plenty to go behind Big South powerhouse Radford.

After the meet, the teams organized a fun run/walk that raised $2,467 for the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation.

HOW DID IT HAPPEN:

It was senior day for Longwood, and nearly every Lancer rider achieved a personal best on Longwood’s tough and grueling cross-country course on Johnston Drive. The course began last year as a home course for cross-country teams.

In the women’s race, Radford’s women took the top seven spots, as defending runners-up Big South trailed rookie Sophie Magson in 18:35.3.

Caroline Fairbanks posted the Lancers’ fastest time, finishing eighth in the field with a time of 19:57.2 in the 5k.

Grace Puleo ran a 20:19.1, his best on the Longwood home course, to finish 10eand Lanie Grogg was only 11 seconds behind her at 20:29.5.

Nicole Pinder (21:54.6), Bailey Deaver (21:58.4) provided the other scoring times for the Lancers, as Longwood finished second behind Radford.

WHAT THEY SAID:

“The women’s run was amazing and a complete turnaround from last year,” said the Longwood head coach. Brooke Craig. “We had a more competitive field, which was great, but our team responded. Our top three women came out with Radford. They have a bit more depth than us, but they came out and gave it a shot. Grace a ran a PR course, and she won the race last year. So that tells you how fast the race was today. Caroline won redemption for last year. [when she sprained her ankle during the race] and came out and ran first for the team and broke 20 minutes. I loved the teamwork and I’m excited for the conference at the end of October.”

“I’m so proud of the girls. I thought we really packed it, and that’s something we tried to work on in training,” Puleo said of how the team raced together. as a group. “What we worked on really came together. I thought it was great and a team effort. Everyone gave 100 per cent.”

“It means a lot,” Puleo added of hosting a PR class on the senior day of his home course. “It’s something we’ve talked about hosting since my freshman year. Now it’s normal for us to host one, and it looks and feels like a legit cross-country race. We had all the support from the people from school and our families here, and it was so cool to see him. It was awesome. I loved being a part of it.”

“It’s amazing what was done last week when we started fundraising for this,” Puleo said of how the team raised nearly $2,500. “We filed on campus and on paper we lifted it, but it was everyone’s donations to the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation. It’s really cool that we were able to get so many donations for such a good cause.”

“It’s amazing to see the turnout and impact at Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation,” Craig said. “We have a good connection with them, and we will continue to fundraise for them and make an impact.”

“I love this team,” Craig said. “I’m so lucky to coach this group, and it was so much fun today.”

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Kiersten Witte ran a personal course best at 22:13.3 and finished sixth in Longwood’s runner.

Catherine Oylear ran a 22:43.8, also a personal best on the course, as Longwood’s seventh runner.

Rachel Simmons (23:28.8) and Aislin Garcia (23:51.2) completed the field for Longwood.

NEXT:

Longwood will travel to Virginia Tech next weekend as the James Madison Invitational has been canceled.

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