BOONE, N.C. — The High Point University women’s cross country team placed third at the Blue Ridge Open on Friday in Boone, N.C. HPU was the top Big South team and was led by junior Kayleigh Perry, who placed sixth overall.
Wake Forest won the meet with 44 points followed by Belmont (78) and High Point (94). Host Appalachian State and VMI tied for fourth with 115 points and Coastal Carolina placed sixth (124). Among other Big South schools competing, Radford placed 10th, Longwood placed 11th and Gardner-Webb placed 12th.
“We have been putting things together in practice so it was great to see things finally come together as a team” said head coach Jenna Wrieden. “We can take a lot of confidence out of this heading to the Big South Championship in two weeks. Our top five is getting closer and closer together, which is going to be the most important thing at the conference meet.
“Kayleigh ran well even though she was pretty conservative at the mile mark. She she ran a smart race and I think she’ll be even faster in two weeks. Lauren Blackwell had a really good race and Kelsey Hunt is running fine. Sarah Bode also ran really well to get a personal best in the second race of her collegiate career.”
Perry placed sixth with a time of 18:20.93, Blackwell placed 12th in 18:30.01 and Hunt took 14th in 18:33.79. Junior Audrey Malloy placed 33rd in 19:01.01 and freshman Erika Peoples took 35th in 19:03.40.
In just her second collegiate race, Bode was HPU’s sixth finisher in 37th overall with a time of 19:08.11. Sophomore Sarah Dorrell placed 41st in 19:21.64 and senior Kelsey Paine took 53rd in 19:33.82.
Freshman Katie Farina placed 57th in 19:45.14 and junior Colleen Hollowood took 67th in 19:58.44. Freshmen Julia Zautcke, Lindsey Siska and Rebecca Baldinger placed 75th, 82nd and 103rd, respectively, in the 121-runner field.
High Point competes in the Big South Championship on Oct. 27 at 10:30 a.m. in Rock Hill, S.C. The Panthers are defending conference champ and return four All-Big South honorees from last season: Perry, Malloy, Hunt and Paine.