BOBCATS OPEN STRONG

Boone, NC--

With eight teams there, the Bobcats got around the soggy course with some impressive performances. "We had so many freshmen running in their first collegiate race, so it was difficult to know what to expect, but I thought they handled the weather, competition and the distance really good," said Head Coach Craig McPhail.

For the women, the Bobcats were led by freshman Dana Lindholm (Weaverville, NC). Her time of 20:00 marks one of the fastest times ever for a Lees-McRae cross country athlete on that course. She finished 25th out of 89 runners.

Also running well for the Bobcats were freshmen Carla Swart (Buford, GA) 20:52; Ashley May (Chilhowie, VA) 21:35; Gina Valenti (Washington, NC) 21:43.

"I was really pleased with the performances of those four freshmen, but also Karyn Bragman (Clayon, NC) and Jenny Hurd (Danbury, NC) and how they overcome injuries to give solid efforts," McPhail said.

On the men's side, it was another case of the freshmen leading the way. This time Jon Bernal (Oakton, VA) and Chris Holstein (Middleburg, FL) battled to a close finish as Bernal ran 28:38 and Holstein finished the 5 mile course in 28:40.

The Bobcats ran as a pack for most of the race as freshman Cody Beaman (Humble, TX) and junior Josh Blanc (Hope Mills, NC) ran 28:46 and 28:56 respectively.

Lees-McRae got personal bests times from returnees Matt Barrett (Douglasville, GA) and Sebron Jessup (Westfield, NC) as they finished with times of 29:26 and 30:11.

"We had a total team effort tonight and it was good to see the guys understand the pacing and racing at the collegiate level for cross country," McPhail said. "We have some work to do, but I think this group has a lot of potential and I am excited to see how good we can be."

Next on the Bobcats schedule will be the 23rd Annual Eye Opener Cross Country Meet on September 9 on the grounds of the Roger Milliken Center in Spartanburg, SC where the women race at 8:00 a.m. and men at 8:30 a.m.