The Bulldog men finished first through fifth individually and the Lady Bulldogs grabbed the top three spots to highlight the season-opening Western Carolina Cross Country Festival on Saturday morning in Cullowhee, North Carolina.
The Georgia men scored a perfect 15 to run away with their first team victory of the year while the Lady Bulldogs scored 17 points thanks in part to also taking fifth and sixth individually.
“I think this ended up being a meet that gave us exactly what we wanted out of it,” said Bulldog distance coach Patrick Cunniff. “It reminded us how to get ready for a race and how to get out and take control of the race as a group. I thought we executed well as a team for half the race and then pushed out to see how we felt in the second half. We aren’t reading too much into this race. Now we will get ready to welcome many of our league’s teams to Athens for next week’s Bulldog SEC Preview.”
Senior Bryan Kamau captured his second collegiate victory and led his team for the seventh consecutive time dating back to the 2016 season. Kamau completed the 5000-meter course in 15:29.07 to finish just ahead of fellow senior Austin Sprague (15:30.99). A third senior, Eric Westog, managed third-place honors after clocking a 15:34.34.
Georgia’s fourth scorer on Saturday was a first timer as a scorer in the red and black. Redshirt freshman Michael Hans, a Watkinsville, Ga., native, finished fourth after registering a time of 15:39.66. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Jones also scored for the first time for UGA’s cross team as he completed the course in 15:40.37 for fifth place.
In addition, senior Jon Moses, redshirt sophomore Jonathan Pelham and redshirt sophomore Ryan Peppenhorst picked up eighth through 10th-place finishes, respectively, to finish just out of scoring.
Just as she did to start the 2016 season as a freshman, sophomore Jessica Drop tallied her second collegiate victory and led her team for the sixth time in two years. Drop started the day’s racing by shooting across the 3200m line in 10:40.12 to finish four seconds ahead of her sister.
Sophomore Sam Drop ran a 10:44.45 to finish second overall in her first race since leading the Georgia women with All-Region honors at the 2016 NCAA South Regional. Junior Grace Tavani also surged into her first scoring opportunity by taking third with a 10:51.83.
Western Carolina snagged the fourth overall spot and then it was another pair of Georgia women to finish. Sophomore Yanely Gomez took fifth (11:00.56) and senior Addy Lippitt came through with the Lady Bulldogs’ last scoring spot after recording a time of 11:11.75.
Georgia returns to action on a course that wraps around the UGA Golf Course in Athens as the Bulldog SEC Preview arrives on Saturday, Sept. 9.
1. Georgia 15 pts.
2. Western Carolina 59 pts.
3. Milligan 76 pts.
4. Gardner-Webb 129 pts.
5. King 135 pts.
6. Emory & Henry 152 pts.
1. Georgia 17 pts.
2. Western Carolina 56 pts.
3. Milligan 63 pts.
4. Gardner-Webb 119 pts.
5. Brenau 143 pts.
6. Emory & Henry 166 pts.