Cross Country: Sarah Bearden captures USA South Women's Championship

Cross Country: Sarah Bearden captures USA South Women's Championship

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Sophomore Sarah Bearden raced her way to the USA South Women's Cross Country Championship individual title Saturday at Hagan Stone Park.

Bearden, the USA South Women's Runner of the Year, finished the 6k course in a time of 23:54. She crossed the finish line over 30 seconds ahead of Meredith's Itzel Gonzalez. Bearden earned a spot on the All-Conference team as well. She is the first LaGrange runner to win the USA South individual championship.

Bearden's performance helped the Panther women finish fifth in the team standings, the best yet in the USA South. Meredith won the championship for the third straight year, followed by Covenant, Mary Baldwin, Piedmont, and the Panthers.

Ashley Wright gave the Panthers two runners in the top 25 with a time of 27:27.4. Davida White followed Wright at 28:04.9, then Jessica Morton (30:41.4), Laura Hayhurst (33:22.3), and Lydia Subat (34:12.5).

On the men's side, Chris Smith finished with a time of 30:49.5 over the 8K course. Smith was closely followed by Bill Singleton (31:54.5), John Lynch (32:37.5), Tyler Baars (32:41.9), and Hiram Haro-Oropeza (33:26.10).

"Today was a great day for LaGrange College Cross Country. Sarah knew that she would have to run a smart race to win it and she did just that. But it's not a single effort, the rest of the women's team followed suit and brought in some great times." said coach Joe Strickland. "We started the season with the goal of breaking into the top 5 in the conference, and today we did just that.
"The men ran a strong race. They all fought through same tough injuries this season and to give 100% effort at conference and they accomplished that goal."