Men’s and Women’s cross-country teams have successful weekend at MEC championships


Hilltopper Sports

X-Country at a recent meet

West Liberty University men’s and women’s cross-country teams had a successful weekend at the MEC Championships. The event was hosted by Oglebay Resort here in Ohio County. Mountain East Conference standout Hannah Kemp came away with a first place finish for WLU in the women’s event while Phil White managed a fifth place finish in the men’s race on a difficult course laced with hills.

This was Kemp’s third straight win in as many outings for the Hilltoppers this season cementing her place as MEC Champion. Following the victory, Kemp was named MEC runner of the year highlighting her continuous success.

Kemp started the race quickly and finished with a time of 23:33.86. “It wasn’t really a strategy. I just came into today wanting to run my race and do what I do best. I love hill running. I’ll take a hilly course over a flat course any day. I just really like having to work through that challenge,” said Kemp. “This win means a lot but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, my coaches and my friends and family. I get great support and motivation from so many people and it all played a role in this.”

WLU’s Nichole Groseclose, a sophomore from Howard, Ohio followed Kemp with an 18th place finish with a time of 26:55.13. This success was enough to earn her second-team All-MEC honors.
Kemp and Groseclose along with teammates Emily Louk (21), Savannah Moorehead (29), and Blake Hull (40), landed the Lady Hilltoppers in fourth place overall with 104 points. The University of Charleston won the day with 42 points followed by Davis and Elkins College in second and Concord University in third.

The MEC Championships capped off a successful season for the team after a second place finish in North Carolina on Feb. 13 and a third place finish in Charleston, West Virginia on Feb. 26. Head Coach Justin Simpson will be continuing to push his squad to improve on these results next season.

The men’s team also achieved a fourth place finish on the Oglebay 8000 meter course with a score of 113. In fact, the first four place team finishes replicated that of the women’s event with UC claiming the first place spot with four of the top eight finishers, D&E coming in second and Concord placing third.

White, an All-Region junior, was the first Hilltopper to complete the course coming in fifth place overall with a time of 26:41.28 to round out a successful spring for the junior from Morgantown, West Virginia.

Sophomore runner Brenden Sands followed White with a time of 28:41.43, crossing the finish line in 22nd. Jared Ullom (26), Cole Wright (30), and Zac Banks (32), also placed for the Hilltoppers.

This rounds out the season for the Hilltoppers after a first and third place finish in North Carolina and Charleston respectively last month. Both Cross Country Squads will be continuing their hard work in preparation for any future challenges.