The University of Miami men’s and women’s cross country teams got off on the correct foot at their second competition of the season, the UCF Black and Gold Invitational.
The Hurricane men built on a third-place performance at the Greentree Invitational as they finished ahead of the pack, winning their first event of the year ahead of Warner Southern, Flagler, Rollins and Bethune-Cookman.
The Hurricane women, who finished first at the Greentree Invitational, put together a solid second-place performance, finishing behind UCF but ahead of Flagler, Warner Southern, Rollins and Bethune-Cookman.
The men’s team was led by senior Ryan Woodlee. Woodlee jumped to the lead in the 8K event right from the initial gun, and he never looked back, taking the competition with a time of 27:22.71.
The other men were not far behind, as all six Miami runners finished in the top 11. Senior Eric Miller finished fourth; freshmen Michael Viklund and Matthew Wilson finished sixth and ninth, respectively; and seniors Jules Rosen and Andrew Chuplis finished 10th and 11th, respectively.
“The men went out and followed the plan,” associate cross country coach Damon Griffiths said. “It was [a]good team performance, and we have built a good base as we head into Gainesville next week.”
For the second straight event to start the season, the women’s squad was led by sophomore Emma Steppe. Steppe finished fourth overall in the 5K event, finishing with a time of 19:43.15.
In similar fashion to Woodlee and his teammates, Steppe’s teammates were not far behind. Freshman Anna Bona came in fifth; sophomores Katherine Woodard, Monika Freiser, Jackie Sullivan and Caitlin Knapp finished ninth, 10th, 12th and 13th, respectively; and freshman Page Price rounded out the Hurricane women at 15th.
“I am pleased with the performances put on today by Emma and Anna,” Griffiths said. “It was good to see the girls utilize the pack. This race was a good stepping stone going into the next part of the season.”
The teams will be back in action this weekend when they head to Gainesville to participate in the Mountain Dew Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 20.