HPU Women’s Cross Country Places Sixth At Wake Forest Invite

• Sophomore Kelly Hayes finished fifth to lead HPU with a collegiate-best time of 21:45.30
• Junior Cozette Collin placed sixth (21:48.10) to record her second-straight top-6 finish for the Panthers
• The Panthers return to action on Oct. 31 when the team defends the Big South Championship

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. – Bolstered by a pair of top-10 finishes, the High Point University women’s cross country team registered a sixth-place finish amongst a competitive field Friday at the Wake Forest Invitational.

Sophomore Kelly Hayes placed fifth for the Panthers in a personal-best 6k time of 21:45.30, while junior Cozette Collin was right behind her in sixth with a season-best 6k time of 21:48.10. For Hayes, it marked her third top-5 finish this season, while Collin posted her second-straight top-6 showing.

“I like what our runners did up front today,” head coach Jenna Wrieden said. “Cozette went out aggressively, which set her up to be in the lead pack and put together a strong performance. Kelly showed some maturity and some patience. She did what we talked about and built some consistency throughout her 6k.”

Richmond won the team title with 53 points, followed by Appalachian State (70) and host Wake Forest (86). HPU (138 points) finished just behind fifth-place Charlotte (135) and ahead of East Carolina (164) and George Mason (170), among others.

“I’m encouraged by the meet today,” Wrieden said. “Even though we were sixth, we performed well. The race was not perfect – Natalia Ocasio had a rough day and Katie Farina didn’t finish the race due to injury, which hurt our team score. Kelly also fell in the second mile, so taking those three things into consideration, I feel that we have the ability to be a top-3 team at that meet.”

Ocasio served as HPU’s No. 3 runner and placed 36th at the meet with a time of 22:50.38. Senior Julia Zautcke finished 57th In 23:16.45 while fellow senior Lindsey Siska posted a collegiate best 6k time of 23:19.77 and finished 61st.

Senior Sarah Bode also hit a collegiate PR while finishing 64th with a time of 23:21.30.

A pair of seniors crossed the finish line next for the Panthers. Erika Peoples placed 90th in 23:57.72 and Kasey Spence was 105th with a time of 24:32.51.

Rounding out the HPU pack, freshman Courtney Kerr finished 124th (25:11.21) and fellow freshman Janelle Rothacker was 132nd in 25:36.35.

Next up for the Panthers, HPU heads to Spartanburg, S.C., to defend its Big South Championship title on Oct. 31.