From Staff Reports
Dalton State College’s cross country program kicked off its inaugural season Friday at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Powerade Invitational.
The men’s team finished fourth in the open division 5K (3.1 miles) among non-NCAA Division I teams. Dalton State is a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics program.
Shorter won the division with 28 points, ahead of Bryan College (42), Lee University (68) and the Roadrunners (84), who were paced by Paul Patterson. He clocked a time of 16 minutes, 36.92 seconds and finished 10th.
“Tonight opened my eyes to the speed of college running, but I think we are now prepared mentally and with our coaches and room for improvement, I believe we will peak at the right time,” Patterson said in a press release from Dalton State.
Other finishers for Dalton State’s men were Parker Cook (17:07.00, 16th), Isaac Pacheco (17:13.46, 19th), Brody Cook (17:14.54, 20th), Rafael Pacheco (17:18.24, 22nd), Chris Pineda (17:32.02, 24th) and Garrett Williams (19:43.94, 33rd). Teams could enter up to seven runners, with the first five finishers counting toward their score.
Co-Roadrunners head coach Andy Meyer was pleased with the performances.
“We did well for where we are at in our training and Brody and Parker both set personal records,” Meyer said. “We will only get better from here. When you take into account the fact that our runners are so young, we have a very bright future.”
In the women’s competition, a two-mile run, Dalton State had four finishers and so did not qualify for a team score in open division competition.
Leading the Roadrunners was Natalie Espinoza-Hensley, who took fourth with a time of 12:23.89. Other finishers were Jasmin Sanchez (15:05.41, 31st), Maggie Kalafut (15:09.77, 32nd) and Amairany Vidana (15:26.29, 35th).
“I felt really fast for the first mile and then the college pace really pushed me in the second mile,” said Espinoza-Hensley, before jokingly adding, “It really has not hit me yet that I now own the school record for a woman competing in an individual event.”