Women and Men’s cross country season opener review

The West Liberty University Cross Country team is off to a brilliant start to the season following their first place victory at the North Carolina Wesleyan Invitational. If a team were to make a trip to Rocky Mountain, North Carolina, they would most definitely need to bring their best efforts, and the Hilltoppers did just that. The running conditions in North Carolina were far from ideal, but that did not stop West Liberty from performing at an elite level, specifically seen through the individual efforts of Hannah Kemp and Phil White who both finished in first place. Kemp also earned the MEC Runner of the Week Award. In the men’s event, Danah Phillips and Michael Harriman finished in second and third place respectively allowing the Hilltoppers to dominate the top five spots.

Although none of the teams competing were familiar faces the Hilltoppers normally see in the Mountain East Conference, WLU still reigned supreme, beating University of North Carolina-Wilmington (Division 1), Methodist, William Peace, and North Carolina Wesleyan rather easily.

Although this early success is great for the Hilltoppers, they need to put it behind them rather quickly, as the remainder of the season could be here and gone before they even realize. With only two meets remaining until the MEC Championships on March 20, the Toppers have to perform at the highest caliber they can in preparation. The Hilltoppers will be back in action as they travel to Charleston, West Virginia, on Feb. 26. Following Charleston, a week’s turnaround is needed until they travel to Toledo, Ohio, to compete in the University of Toledo “Last Chance Meet” on March 5. Once the Mountain East Conference Championships begin, West Liberty looks forward to repeating their success they saw during the 2019 season. While many Toppers saw individual honors in 2019, perhaps the most impressive feat during the 2019 MEC Championships was the performance the women’s team displayed, in which they earned a runner-up trophy.

It has been a year that has seen unprecedented delays within the sports world, however, the Hilltoppers are no stranger to battling through adversity. It will be exciting to see what the West Liberty University Cross Country team has in store for the rest of this upcoming season.