By Lily McCormick
The University of Montevallo hosted the Gulf South Conference Championship on Nov. 5. Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed on their home course. This was the first time Montevallo has hosted the event in three years.
Men’s team captain Joe Leventry described the excitement he felt to race at home.
“I’ve been racing here since I was in middle school so to have my last conference race here was really special,” Leventry said.
Leventry finished ninth completing the race in 24:11.40, earning him First Team All-conference and breaking the 8k school record in the process.
The Falcons finished fourth behind conference rivals Lee College, Mississippi College and the University of Alabama-Huntsville with 161 points.
Cross Country is scored by adding the top-five finishers on the team’s places together. The team with the least amount of points wins.
Drew Roberts followed with a 25:38.30 time and a 33rd-place finish. Next, Joseph Pitard and Owen Marquardt finished with times of 26:28.20 (47th) and 26:42.30 (52nd), respectively. Bill Archer completed scoring for Montevallo with a time of 26:44.00.
Senior runner Courtney Keeler was first to finish for Montevallo’s women’s team with a top-25 time of 19:25.30 (25th). Kiarra Walters and Natalie Warner also scored for the Falcons with times of 20:00.90 (36th) and 20:25.90 (45th), respectively. Caroline Hendon (50th) and Sarah Turner (52nd) finished as 4th and 5th for the falcons with times of 20:37.30 and 20:39.40.
The women’s team earned 183 points, finishing seventh, this is a drop from the team’s fifth-place finish at conference last year.
Both teams were regionally ranked and competed at the NCAA South Regional Championship. The races took place on Nov. 19 in Lakeland, Florida. This was each team’s first chance to move up in distance with the men competing in the 10k race and the women’s team moving up to 6k.
The men’s team finished 8th in the region while the women’s team finished 14th. The men’s team top five placed 4, 47, 64, 72, and 80 for a total score of 267. While the women’s top five placed 59, 62, 81, 88 and 92 ending with a score of 382.
Leventry once again made history as he qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championship with a 4th place finish at the Regional Championship. Leventry is the first person from the men’s team to qualify for the National Championship in Montevallo history.
This will be his second year in a row attending the race. Leventry will compete in Seattle, Washington on Dec. 3rd for a national title.