Saturday the women’s and men’s cross country team came in second place at the Hagan Stone Classic in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Sophomore Shaquon Wilkins came in fifth for the men’s team in a race that included division one, division two and division three runners. On Saturday, Sept. 27 the men and women’s cross country team came in first and second place at the University of Charleston, and sophomore, Shaquon Wilkins was named MEC runner of the week for the second time.
Shaquon Wilkins, William Young and Anthony Wallis finished in first, second and third place for the men, while sophomore Sarah Elbon finished in fifth place for the girls.
Elbon has lead the girls team this year in most races, but believes that the support from her teammates and training regimen from her coach are what contributes to her success.
“I feel that I contribute to the team by being a reliable leader. It is not about being the fastest on the team, but making sure that everyone is staying healthy, and keeping sight on the team’s goals,” said Elbon.
Head Coach Donald Leech gave both teams tips that helped lead them to success in the race at Charleston.
Leech said, “Last week I told the women’s team to go out and challenge the faster Charleston team, and not to fear the added distance on the 6K course. They did both and had a positive experience. The men ran a shorter distance than normal, so I just said cut loose and apply some speed when you feel like it.”
According to Leech, Team Captain Matt Parker has helped motivate the team in practice and during races.
Matt Parker, a fifth year senior, did not run at Charleston but has participated in all the other races this season.
“We’ve got great talent that came in last year and this past year. Most of the top runners on our team are actually underclassmen so we’ve improved a lot. We’ve placed a lot better in conference. We’ve looked at the stats of us compared to all the other teams, and their losing a lot of their upperclassmen, but since we’re such a young team, we should be able to go to regionals next year,” said Parker.
According to Parker, Shaquon Wilkins has stepped up tremendously since being redshirted his freshman year.
“He was redshirted his freshman year and only ran one race; we only got a little taste of how good he was. Last year he ran, he was injured, so he still didn’t run at full capacity. This year he is just phenomenal. He came out and has just improved tremendously.”
Shaquon Wilkins has led the team in more than one race this season.
He’s finished first for the team in every race since the start of the season.
Wilkins is just thankful for the support of his teammates, and uses them as motivation to do well.
“Honestly, getting first does not mean anything to me. I am here where I am because of my family, coach, and my teammates.” said Wilkins.
“With all the races I have been doing, the only reason I do not give up is because I think about my team.”
The men and women’s cross-country team competes again on Oct. 25.