The Southern Miss cross country team traveled to South Bend, Indiana, to compete in the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Sept. 28.
The Golden Eagles faced several national powerhouses and top 25 ranked teams. A total of 19 teams competed in the race. Some of the notable teams in attendance included No. 11 BYU, No. 12 Furman, No.21 California, No. 22 Notre Dame.
“Everyone ran gutsy, hard races, and we finished with a great team day,” Southern Miss Head Coach Aaron Kindt said. “It’s another step forward, but we have a lot left in front of us and a lot of work left to do to get where we want to be as a team. They grinded away to get where they finished today, and I’m proud of this team.”
Leading the way for Southern Miss was Sandra Szpott, who finished in 32nd place while running a time of 17:32, which marked a personal record for the junior.
“Sandra Szpott had a really good day with a new personal record,” Kindt said. “She ran a high caliber race at the front.”
Sophomore Kate Mattox finished second on the team with a time of 17:54.58 to finish in 58th place, respectively. Right behind Mattox was junior Emma Kate Holdbrooks, who also marked a personal record with a time of 17:54.76 to finish in 59th place, respectively.
“Emma Kate Holdbrooks has had an awesome season so far, and she had a new personal best as well,” Kindt said. “What she’s done in practice all year she did today, and it’s great to have her back feeling good and at the front. She’s a big part of what we’ll do this year. We’re still trying to get Kate Mattox back in her rhythm, but she’s only going to keep getting better and we got a nice, solid performance from her today.”
Juniors Monika Gebarzewska and Regen McGee finished in 73rd and 87th place while also running times of 18:07 and 18:15. Rounding out the team’s top seven was freshman Lina May and junior Theresa Harto who ran 18:41.80 and 18:41.90 to finish in 116th and 117th place, respectively.
Senior Madeleine Bell finished in 142nd place and ran a time of 19:13.76. Senior Victoria Hoppe finished right behind Bell and finished in 143rd with a time of 19: 13.93.
“We had a really solid team day today; a lot of good things happened within the group,” Kindt said. “Our focus for this race was on having a good team group race, staying together, and we did that.”
The Golden Eagles finished in 12th place with a team score of 303 points, beating Temple, LSU, California, Baylor and Oklahoma. BYU won the meet with a score of 37 points.
Southern Miss will return to action on Oct. 12 to run in the Florida State Invitational.