BOONE, N.C. – King College Men's and Women's Cross Country opened their seasons today on the campus of Appalachian State University at the Covered Bridge Invitational, Friday evening. Sophomore Spencer Frantom finished in the top 15 percent of all competitors on the men's side to lead them to an eighth place finish while the Lady Tornado finished ninth behind junior Danielle Beauvais' top team finish.
Frantom finished the 8k run at State Farm Fields (Boone, N.C.) with a time of 26:18.6, good for 16th place overall in the men's competition. The Morristown, Tenn. native helped guide the Tornado to the best finish among Division II teams in a strong field dominated by Division I programs, including Florida State and Wake Forest.
"Spencer has worked very hard over the summer and showed today that he is much stronger than he was as a freshman last year," said head coach Peter Dalton. "Based on his performance today, I really believe he will have a great season for us this year."
Fellow sophomore Taylor Dix (Memphis, Tenn.) was the next highest King finisher at 56th overall. His time of 27:35.6 in the race was recorded as more than one minute faster than his run at the same competition last season.
As a team, the Tornado placed eighth out of 11 teams at the event with an average time of 27:54.42 among its top-five runners. Southern Indiana University took the title for the Invitational with an average time of 25:57.50 while host Appalachian State finished fourth.
The Lady Tornado finished ninth out of 12 teams in their 5k competition and were led by Winchester, Va. native Danielle Beauvais (19:58.0).
"Danielle is this team's leader," said Dalton. "Just as she did on the course today, I expect her to lead this team for the duration of the season."
Kendra Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) followed Beauvais with a time of 20:29.0. Evan Ferrell (Richlands, Va.) shadowed each runner with a 20:54.8 mark. Both athletes showed great improvement from their finishes at this same race last season. Sokol showed a gain of over a minute in her total time from a season ago while Ferrell displayed a time 60 seconds quicker than last year.
Like the men's team, the women also posted a top time among all Division II competitors at the Invitational. They edged out state rival East Tennessee State University by more than 10 seconds on their average course time and more than a minute on their total time, comparatively.
Dalton remarked, "This is the strongest our teams have ever been this early in the season. It is encouraging as we progress through our season and get closer to championship season. We will continue to build on our team and individual strength as we move forward."
Tornado Cross Country will next compete at the Clemson Open in Clemson, S.C. on Sept. 16.
Complete results for both the men's and women's teams can be found by downloading the PDF documents above.