TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Clemson cross country teams took to the course this morning and displayed a strong showing of depth and quality during their 2020 season opener at the Florida State Invitational. John Ward was the first Clemson athlete to cross the finish line this morning, as the senior notched a personal best of 24:38.7 in the men’s 8k race. In her Clemson debut, Lauren Hayes was the first Tiger to cross the line in the women’s 5k, notching a new personal best at the distance with her time of 17:24.5
“I think that racing together today taught us to trust one another,” said Clemson Cross Country Head Coach Vicky Pounds. “Getting one race under our belt was important and we need to keep working on our pack mentality.”
The men’s team was the first on the course and put together a well-rounded effort during the 8k race. While Ward was the top Tiger on the day, a consistent showing by Marlin Young and Jackson Leech throughout the race gave the Tigers low points towards their team score. Michael Smith wore the Clemson Orange and Regalia for the first time in 13 months and slotted into the fourth position in the team’s results, while Danny Shaughnessy used a ferocious last split to secure his place within Clemson’s scoring five.
In the women’s 5k race, Hayes used a 3:19.1 final kilometer to squeeze past Laurie Barton and finish as Clemson’s top female. Laurie Barton led the charge for Clemson through the opening four kilometers in what was her debut with Clemson’s cross country team. Amelia Jones and Josie Wirtz complemented one another well today as they respectively finished third and fourth for the Tigers. Sydney Collins was the fifth female to cross the line in what was her debut with the cross country team.
A total of 11 Tigers ran personal-best times on Friday. Six athletes made their debut appearance with Clemson’s cross country program, with four of those athletes competing as a Tiger for the first time.
Clemson’s men’s team finished sixth overall with 139 points, while the women scored 188 points to finish eighth. Georgia’s men’s team and Florida State’s women’s team were the team champions in their respective races.