Cross Country competes in conference championship

ECU had two all-conference runners: Chelsea Hollingsworth and Bjork Olsen. -Contributed

The ECU men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the Conference USA Championship Meet on Monday in Hattiesburg, Miss. The women’s team finished third and had two members receive All-Conference honors. The meet was hosted by Southern Mississippi University.

The women finished third with 123 points, while the men’s team finished seventh place with a total score of 186. The two-time defending conference champions, the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, won the Men’s Conference Championship with a score of 25. Defending women’s champions, SMU, won again with a score of 38.

The third place finish is the best ECU has fared at the conference championship meet, leaving the team with a feeling of accomplishment.

“I’m so excited. The team has worked so hard and did everything they were supposed to do and it paid off,” said junior Kaylee Bythell via an online interview. “This is the highest finish in ECU history.”

Bjork Olsen was ECU’s top finisher, placing seventh overall with a time of 17:17 for the 5k women’s race, which is a significant improvement over her 47th (19:02) place finish from a year ago. Corey Hampshire was the top Pirate in the men’s race, finishing 23rd with a time of 25:38 in the men’s 8k race.

The women’s top five finishers placed seventh Bjork Olsen, 18th Chelsea Hollingsworth, 27th Stefanie Fresenius, 31st Olivia Slate, and 45th Shewit Weldense. The men’s top performers finished 23rd Corey Hampshire, 34th Austin Miller, 44th Antonio Palmer, 48thJakub Trzasalski and 49thTevin Richardson.

This strong women’s showing will help build anticipation for the track season coming up in the spring as the Pirates will be defending the indoor track and field conference championship.

Hollingsworth finished 18th, which earned her a spot on an all-conference team. Olsen also finished first team all-conference.

The final women’s meet standings, from first to twelfth, were: SMU (38), Tulsa (57), ECU (123), Rice (149), University Alabama Birmingham (149), Southern Mississippi (154), Tulane (204), Marshall (208), University of Texas El Paso (210), Memphis (220), University of Central Florida (225) and Houston (247).

The final men’s meet standings, from first to eighth, were Tulsa (25), UTEP (56), Rice (78), Memphis (101), Marshall (126), Houston (141), ECU (186) and Tulane (236).

The strong showing at the conference championship highlights the hard work the team has put forth this season and will help to build momentum for the upcoming track and field season.

The men and women’s teams will compete again on November 3rd in Cary N.C. at the Three-Stripe Invitational.

The Three-Stripe Invitational is the last meet before the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, in Charlotte on November 9th.


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