Cross Country: Panthers’ 2019 season recap

Photo Courtesy of USA South
Photo Courtesy of USA South

The LaGrange College cross country team compiled an outstanding 2019 season under second-year head coach Jasen Jonus and assistant coach Sarah Bearden '18.

The Panthers concluded their year on Saturday at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Championship.

Sarah Bearden's leadership was vital to the Panthers' success this fall.

LaGrange received strong contributions this season from seniors Kyle Hildebrand, Liz Minick and Darius Wonnum, juniors Gavin Battle, Natalie Glass and Alexis Westrick, sophomores Holly Moreland, Bryan Storie and Karli Whitaker, and freshmen Jessica Breeding, Garret Callahan, Elijah Rachel, Malcolm Roberts, Jyheem Rollins and Alex Whiten.

"This season was a record-breaking season for both our men's and women's team," said Jonus. "I am so proud for every runner on how diligently they worked throughout the whole process. They continued to fight and work hard even when practices got tough. They persevered through difficult weather conditions. The future is bright for the LaGrange College cross country team."

Here is a look at some of the Panthers' highlights in 2019:

1. Storie finished first overall out of 45 runners at the Middle Georgia Invitational on Sept. 7. Two weeks later, he earned runner-up honors out of 64 runners at the N.C. Wesleyan Invitational. Storie has been the Panthers' top-performer on the men's side in all 12 of his career meets.

2. Moreland finished ninth overall out of 67 runners at the N.C. Wesleyan Invitational. Moreland has been the Panthers' first-place finisher on the women's side in all 10 of her career meets.

3. Whiten, who has finished in the Panthers' top-two in all six meets in 2019, put a stamp on her rookie campaign with a personal-best time of 28:15.3 on the 6-kilometer course at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional in Memphis, Tennessee.

"I had a great time representing the LaGrange cross country team at the regional championship," said Whiten. "It was a personal record for me, and I am grateful for my coaches and team that got me there."

4. Rollins was the Panthers' second-place finisher in all six meets. He recorded a career-best time of 31:33.61 on the 8-kilometer course at the USA South Championship.

5. Moreland, who earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors in 2018, finished 32nd overall out of 112 runners at the conference meet. On the men's side, Storie finished in 33rd out of 106 runners.

6. The Panthers shattered 11 personal records at the Foothills Invitational on Oct. 5. At the USA South Championship on Nov. 2, the unit broke another 11 personal records.