Hanover, Ind. – Freshman Jacob Burnam led the Transylvania cross country team into the 2018 season with a resounding debut performance as both the men's and women's squads took third place in their respective races at the season-opening Hanover Invitational on Saturday.
Burnam turned in a memorable second-place finish among men's individuals in the nearly 4-mile race with a 21:46.9 time against a field of 35 runners. Sophomore Darrell Corn crossed the line in 23:34.8 to finish 13th in the field and second amongst the Pioneer men.
Freshman Chauncey Longman recorded a 24:01.5 time to take 17th place in his first collegiate race as the Pioneers had the potential of the program's youth movement on full display Saturday morning.
Second-year head coach Taylor Throckmorton was pleased with his observations on both the men's and women's squads as sophomore Josie Cunningham posted the fastest time for the Pioneer women with a 25:27.3 time in the 5K race.
"Today was a good refresher for our team on what racing is," commented Throckmorton. "These early meets we are focusing less on time and more on concepts like getting out in the right position, responding to and initiating moves throughout the race, and finishing strong."
The second-fastest time on the Pioneer women's side was by senior Rebecca Facktor, who turned in a season-opening time of 25:42.6 to push along the Pios.
"On the women's side, it was good to see a few returners in Becca and Josie step up and run solid races and give the freshmen time to develop and figure out collegiate racing," added Throckmorton. "All of our returners are miles ahead of where they were last year, both literally and figuratively, which will show as we progress throughout the season."
The season opener displayed promising dividends for the men's squad, whose vaunted incoming freshman class made their mark right away.
"I was very pleased with how Jacob raced today," said Throckmorton. "He put himself in a good position early, worked with another runner throughout the body of the course, and then outkicked him at the end. I was also pleased with where Darrell and Chauncey finished. We have a solid top-three up front and will be looking to close the gap between our third and fourth runners throughout the season. That will play a big role in determining how we finish as a team this year on the men's side."
The Pioneers will be put to the test next on Saturday, September 15 as they head to Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.
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