West Liberty men’s and women’s cross country recap

After newfound successes during the shortened 2020-2021 campaigns, both the West Liberty University men’s and women’s cross country teams begin their seasons hungry for a Mountain East Conference championship, and rightfully so.

The Lady Hilltoppers cross country squad as a whole, saw themselves finish fourth in the Mountain East Conference (MEC) championships.

In the abbreviated 2020-2021 season, the women’s cross country team had success to start the season. The team placed second in the North Carolina Wesleyan Invitational, and third at the University of Charleston Invitational. West Liberty is now trailing the University of Charleston, Davis and Elkins and Concord University in the standings.

Leading the charge for the Hilltoppers women’s cross country team is the MEC 2021, Runner of the Year, Hannah Kemp.

Kemp has seen unbelieve success as a runner, so much so that she was not defeated last year in the meets she ran in. Kemp holds several WLU indoor track records in both the 3000 meter run and the mile Run. She also holds a trio of outdoor track records in 1500 meter run, 5000 meter run and 10000 meter run.

Following Kemp is a group of upperclassmen, including senior Jamie Fogle, senior Grace Henley. senior Emily Louk, junior Nichole Groseclose and junior Blake Hull.
The team also has several underclassmen including sophomore Shiana Keene, Sophomore Savannah Moorehead, and Freshmen Madelyn Logan.

This season, the West Liberty women’s cross country has placed sixth in the Bethany Invitationals, twelfth in the Lock Haven Invitational, and still have the Carnegie Mellon Invitational before the Mountain East Conference Championships begin on Oct. 23 and NCAA Division II regionals on Nov. 6.

For West Liberty men’s cross country, they also had a respectable finish in the Mountain East Conference Championships for the 2020-2021 season, placing fourth. Although WLU only trailed Charleston, Davis and Elkins, and Concord, there is much to be excited about going into the bulk of this season. Thus far, West Liberty has finished first in the Bethany Invitationals, and fifth in the Lock Haven Invitational.

On the men’s side, they have also found success. Just like the women’s team, the men have had individual successes as well, specifically through the likes of runner Philip White. White, the 2018 MEC Freshmen of the Year, has also earned two Mountain East Conference First Team cross country selections. He looks forward to hopefully adding a third this year, as he is otherwise known as a heavy anchor for this Hilltopper squad. Adding to the team is senior Danah Phillips, a Second Team All-MEC selection last year. Rounding up the completion of the squad is Senior Zach Banks, senior Brice Childers, senior Zack Hamric, senior Michael Harriman, senior Walker Hashman, senior Kerwyn Marshall, senior Jared Ullom, junior Tavian Richardson, junior Brendan Sands, sophomore Jonathan Stout, sophomore Brody Cermak, freshman Holden Ammons, freshman Coby Newcomb, and freshman Nate Schneider.

To start the season, the men brought home first place at the Bethany Invitational. Harriman also saw an individual first place finish.

In the Lock Haven Invitational, the team finished fifth and Harriman finished inside the top 20.

For both the West Liberty men’s and women’s teams, this can certainly be seen as a statement year in terms of what they want to accomplish overall. With little chances to showcase themselves in regards to invitationals scheduled, it’s imperative every single chance given is taken advantage of to the best of their abilities. Although set up for the years to come with great youth, the upperclassmen leaders on each respective team look to cap off impressive careers in the black and gold, with the hopes of both sides bringing home a Mountain East Conference tournament title.

Before both teams compete for championships, they will head to Pittsburgh, PA to participate in the Carnegie Mellon Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 9.

After that, the Mountain East Championships for both teams will take place miles away in Oglebay Park on Oct. 23, so make sure to show up and cheer on your Hilltoppers!