Powell, Ohio – Freshman Jacob Burnam led the Transylvania cross country team with a 5th place finish at the Ohio Wesleyan University Invitational on Saturday morning.
The men's team finished in 6th place overall with a team score of 129, while the women's team did not field enough runners to compete as a team.
The event was Transylvania's first chance to race at the championship distances of 6k for the women and 8k on the men's side.
Second-year head coach Taylor Throckmorton was pleased with the way his young team adjusted to the greater race distances.
"The biggest thing we wanted to get out of today's meet was becoming familiar with championship distance races," remarked Throckmorton. "We have a team of mostly first-year athletes so we went into the meet with the mentality of using it to familiarize ourselves with these new distances. Some of our athletes learned the hard way what it feels like to run the extra distance from what they're used to doing in high school, and some handled it pretty well."
Transylvania's freshman talent was on full display on Saturday as Burnam finished the race with a time of 28:43.2, a full 40 seconds ahead of the 6th place runner, while fellow freshman Chauncey Longman posted a time of 30:27.3, finishing the race in 21st position.
"I was impressed by how Jacob handled himself in the race," said Throckmorton. "He was leading the race after the first mile and I love seeing a freshman run that confidently, especially in his first 8k. Chauncey is showing a lot of growth and potential as well. He faded a bit at the end, but really put together a fantastic first start to the race. I'm excited to see how those two develop and mature in the next couple months."
On the women's side, the Pioneers were led by sophomore Josie Cunningham, who placed 63rd overall with a time of 29:45.3.
"In the women's race we got caught running alone in a number of sections around the course," remarked Throckmorton. "I would have liked to have seen more pack running and working together throughout the bulk of the course. We'll be firming these concepts up in workouts and over the next few races. I expect better race tactics in the future."
The Pioneers will next be in action on Friday, September 21 as they travel to Shelbyville, Indiana for the Mount St. Joseph Invitational. The race is set for a 6:15 p.m. start at Blue River Memorial Park.
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