HPU Women’s cross country places second at Big South Championship

• HPU finished in the top-2 of the league meet for the second straight season
• Seniors Natalia Ocasio (3rd, 18:30.53) and Cozette Collin (4th, 18:45.67) led the Panthers with top-5 showings
• In addition to Ocasio and Collin, Zoe Geis and Keaton Case were named to the all-conference team

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The High Point University women’s cross country team continued its perennial power at the Big South Championship with a runner up showing Friday morning at the Asheville Christian Academy.

HPU put four runners in the top-12, including two in the top-5. That performance up front propelled the Purple & White to a score of 45 points and a top-2 showing for the third straight season. Liberty won the meet with 37 points, while Campbell (73) finished well behind the Panthers. Winthrop (96) and UNC Asheville (110) rounded out the top-5.

“I’m very proud of our effort today,” head coach Remy Tamer said. “Every individual on our team performed to what they had in their tank. We came up a little bit short of winning, but we put it all out on the line and executed a good race.”

A pair of spectacular seniors led the Panthers during the last Big South cross country meet of their careers. Natalia Ocasio finished third in 18:30.53, marking her best ever conference finish, while Cozette Collin also put together her best league showing with a fourth-place finish (18:45.67).

“Natalia and Cozette have set a precedent on the standards we want to see from our athletes,” Tamer said. “They have done a phenomenal job for this program and they embody the principle of giving everything you have and taking an intelligent approach to training. Coach Esposito and I thank them for all they’ve contributed to our team.”

Freshman Zoe Geis and sophomore Keaton Case made their Big South cross country debuts and performed admirably, garnering a pair of spots in the top-12. Geis placed ninth in 19:11.00 while Case was 11th in 19:14.36. Geis placed just two spots behind the league’s top freshman finisher, Liberty’s Olivia Paxton.

The four top-12 finishes garnered High Point four all-conference honors for the second time in as many years. Ocasio graduates as a three-time all-conference pick, becoming just the third student-athlete in HPU women’s cross country history to accomplish the feat.

Collin is now a two-time All-Big South selection, while Case and Geis earn the honor for the first time in their careers.

Freshman Kylie Hennessey served as HPU’s fifth runner and finished 19th in a time of 19:40.23.

Sophomore Courtney Kerr finished in 20:21.76 to place 40th. At the meet’s conclusion, Kerr was named to the Big South All-Academic Team. She carries a 3.80 GPA and is majoring in communication/event management.

Freshmen Charis Dinger (20:39.64) and Emily Boger finished 43rd and 44th, respectively, while sophomore Kallie Baughman rounded out the Panther contingent (23:31.19).

The Panthers now approach the conclusion of the cross country season with a trip to Cary, N.C., for the NC State Three Stripe Invite November 5.

Big South All-Conference Selections
Natalia Ocasio
Cozette Collin
Zoe Geis
Keaton Case

Big South All-Academic Team
Courtney Kerr