ELON, N.C. – Mike Koech broke the school record in the 8k to take top honors in the men's race, while Ashley Schnell won the race for the women's team as UNCG claimed both team titles on Saturday at the Elon Invitational.
"Mike set the school record today which is great in the first race of the season," said coach Linh Nguyen. "He and Joey really controlled the front of the race and ran well. What we take from today is that we need to get our three, four, five and six guys closer to those top two. AJ ran a big PR today and closed really well, securing the narrow victory. We still have some work to do and we need to get better in the next two months, but today was a solid start."
Koech broke the school record set by teammate Joey Thompson last season by nearly three seconds with his time of 24:54 to come in first place. Thompson wasn't far behind as he finished in second place after running a 25:05.
AJ Savoia also had a great day as he finished in fifth place and bested his previous personal-best by over 36 seconds with a time of 25:31. Andy Clyne and Kenny Hinman also had top-10 finishes as they came in ninth and tenth place, respectively.
Schnell paced the women's team as she came in first place in a time of 18:05, which is the third-fastest time in school history for the 5k.
"I'm extremely pleased with the way the women ran today," said Nguyen. "We have been really challenging them this year to raise the bar and they did that today. Yesterday, we had a team meeting and told the women that we could win the meet. That's a tall order because Elon is one of the best teams in the SoCon. Our women came out today and executed the race plan exactly how we asked. It's definitely a good way to start the season. Now we just have to keep the ball rolling."
Shaina Sumney came in third place for the Spartans and set a new personal-best time with an 18:17. Newcomer Maureen Cronley ran an 18:43 to come in fifth place. Kerry Hartman also had a top-10 finish as she ran an 18:59 to come in seventh place.
The Spartans will return to competition on Oct. 2 as some of the runners will compete at the Greater Louisville Classic, while others will run at the Hagan Stone XC Classic.
1. Mike Koech, 24:54; 2. Joey Thompson, 25:05; 5. AJ Savoia, 25:31; 9. Andy Clyne, 25:52; 10. Kenny Hinman, 25:55; 11. Jermaine Coore, 26:24; 13. Brian Carrington; 26:36; 15. Ben Vasquez, 26:46; 20. Taylor Day, 27:22; 29. Ryan Solomon, 28:16; 30. Ben Constantinides, 28:21; 36. Taylor Hurst, 29:26
1. UNCG – 27
2. Elon – 28
3. Lenoir-Rhyne – 90
4. Elon XC Alumni – 110
5. North Carolina A&T – No team score
6. Catawba – No team score
1. Ashley Schnell, 18:05; 3. Shaina Sumney, 18:17; 5. Maureen Cronley, 18:43; 7. Kerry Hartman, 18:59; 12. Tiffany Garber, 19:12; 19. Kelly Montague, 19:27; 22. Anna Grimes, 19:51; 25. Jenna Paley, 20:14; 29. Jade Farlow, 20:37; 39. Shannon Hall, 22:31
1. UNCG – 28
2. Elon – 37
3. Lenoir-Rhyne – 79
4. North Carolina A&T – 123
5. Catawba – 125
- UNCG -