Southern Miss women’s cross country team tested their top runners in a 4K in its season opener at the Mississippi college opener. The Golden Eagles completed a sweep and having several runners show immense improvement compared to last season.
The Golden Eagles took the top 11 spots in the race, scoring 15 points. The Golden Eagles faced smaller local colleges such as: Mississippi College, Blue Mountain, Delta St., Spring Hill and Mobile.
Despite the lighter competition, Southern Miss showed much promise with several runners displaying much improvement compared to last season.
“It was really encouraging to see different people step up and fill some different roles,” said Head cross country coach Aaron Kindt. “We got a big day out of freshman Kate Mattox and sophomore Savannah McMillon.”
Sophomore Savannah McMillion’s 14:49 helped her finish second on the team which is major improvement compared to finishing seventh on the team in conference last season.
“I am also really proud of the work Savannah put in this summer and I’m excited to watch her take on a bigger role within the cross country team this fall,” said Kindt.
The most notable performance came from Kate Mattox who led the team with a time of 14:46. Mattox is the lone freshman recruit this season, who was the Mississippi Gatorade athlete of the year, and has already made an immediate impact on the team.
The Golden Eagles picked up with their pack running again as the team averaged 15:03. Junior Theresa Harto ran 15:10 to finish third on the team, senior Courtney Filliben ran 15:12 finishing fourth on the team and sophomore Natalya Dekleva-Hall ran 15:19 to finish fifth for the Golden Eagles. Sophomore Monika Gebarzewska and Regen McGee rounded out the top seven, running 15:21 and 15:23.
Graduate Daphney Stanford ran unattached and won the race with a time of 14:45.
“Overall, really strong team effort,” Kindt said. “It was a little hot and muddy but very pleased with the way they handled themselves.”