West Liberty Cross Country season comes to a close

Over the weekend, the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Tournament was home to the best running talents in the Atlantic Region. It is safe to say that West Liberty made their presence felt in a significant way as they were one of the few schools to get the honor of going.

As the cross country season is beginning to officially conclude, there is much to admire about the efforts both the West Liberty men’s and women’s cross country teams have collectively given, with some significant individuals at the forefront of the forward momentum.

Highlighting the plethora of talent for the black and gold is the familiar face of Hannah Kemp. Kemp has made waves throughout the Mountain East Conference, and now on the regional stage, and is continuing to add to her career resume of perhaps the best women’s cross country runner West Liberty has had in their entire history. To date, Kemp has earned MEC Runner of the Year awards in back-to-back seasons, and has just recently earned her second straight All-Atlantic Region honor.

Furthermore, Kemp holds numerous university records, including indoor track records in the mile run and 3,000 meters, as well as outdoor track records in the 1,500 meter, 5,000 meter, and 10,000 meter.

Running this year, she has seen much success. Out of the four races she’s competed in, she’s won three. She placed first in the Bethany Invitational which had 12 teams competing. She also won the Carnegie Mellon Invitational which had 14 schools and over 100 runners. Kemp placed in the top 15 at the Lock Haven Invitational where she competed against 250 runners and several division one schools. At this race she was only one of three MEC runners to place in the top 20. Finally, she had just recently won her second straight MEC Championship.

Now at the Atlantic Regionals, Kemp placed eighth, running a time of 21:45.5. Unfortunately, Kemp narrowly missed an automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA National Championships, but her dominant season will hopefully secure her an at-large berth due to her strong finishing times. Following Kemp in the string of Hilltopper runners was Savannah Moorehead with a time of 24:26.8, Emily Louk with a time of 25:07.6, Blake Hull with a time of 25:23.4, Shiana Keene with a time of 25:26.5, and Jamie Fogle with a time of 28:27.4.

Transitioning onto the men’s cross country representatives, the senior duo of Philip White and Michael Harriman were at the forefront for the Hilltoppers, and each put themselves in respectable positions moving forward. First for White, he placed 14th and ran a time of 31:44.3, his time was good enough to earn All-Region honors, such an honor he had earned in the previous season. Likewise of White, Harriman finished right behind him in 19th place with a score of 31:49.7, which was good enough to earn him an All-Region honor as well. The two runners were the first time in the entirety of West Liberty men’s cross country that the team had two runners earn All-Region honors.

Following the duo was Jared Ullom with a time of 32:59.1, Danah Phillips with a time of 33:06.3, Brendan Sands with a time of 34:13.7, Zac Banks with a time of 35:27.8, and Tavian Richardson with a time of 36:05.01.

As a team, the women runners for West Liberty placed 18 out of 22 in the tournament’s entirety, while the men placed seventh out of 23. While many of the runners’ season will be coming to an end, there is much to rejoice about with the black and gold, and much anticipation moving forward. The NCAA Division II national tournament is set to begin on Saturday, November 20. For more information on the cross country season and upcoming National Tournament, visit HilltopperSports.com.