Spirits X-C Team Runs Well at Old North Championships
The Salem College Spirits traveled to Hagan Stone Park, just south of Greensboro, NC on Saturday to compete in the Old North State Championships. Sixteen teams were represented in the women’s collegiate 5000 meter race. Division I High Point University edged out Elon University to win the Invitational by just four points. East Carolina University rounded out the top three places. Elon’s Anna Mae Flynn won the cross-country meet in a time of 18:50.
The harriers of Salem College fared well as a team against the tough competition. Overall, the Spirits finished 9th, finishing ahead of North Carolina A & T (Division I), Shaw University, Mt. Olive University, NC Central University (Division II), and Division III foes Meredith and Greensboro College. Salem placed second in the NCAA Division III competition, finishing just 7 points behind Guilford College.
After battling a virus all week, Spirit Captain Rachel Fichthorn (Sophomore/Nokesville, VA) managed to finish 33rd overall with a season best 21:19 time. Fichthorn was the top Division III runner of the meet, marking the 3rd time this season she has accomplished this feat. Fichthorn also finished ahead of eight Division I and 23 Division II runners.
First year student Lauren Meek (Draper, VA) continued to improve with a season best 22:18, good for 47th place overall and the 3rd best finish for a Division III runner. Meek finished ahead of 8 Division I and 23 Division II runners in the 115 member field.
Rachel Aderholdt, a senior from North Augusta, Georgia, ran a personal best with a 24:44 for a 74th place finish. Aderholdt is currently student-teaching at Jefferson Elementary School in Winston-Salem. Because of time conflicts, Aderholdt runs most of her workouts by herself on a treadmill in the campus fitness center. “Rachel’s dedication to her school work and team are incredible,” according to Coach Widner. “We are fortunate to have a great role model such as Rachel on our team.”
Despite turning her ankle on a tree root with 100 meters to go, Julie Bigsby (Salisbury, NC) ran a season best time of 24:48, sprinting past a Division I and II runner in the last few seconds. “The ankle injury is currently being treated, and we hope to have Julie at next weekend’s race. She’ll do some pool training this week and our trainer, Mr. Eddie Stevens, is very good with rehab. I’m confident that Julie will rebound from this injury.”
Ariel Barker (Monroe, NC) placed 91st overall with a 26:07 time to round out the top five for Salem College. Because of Ariel’s lab work for her major, she trains a couple days each week in the evening. Ariel’s dedication is resulting in better times as she continues to improve throughout the season.
Mae Sanders, Salem’s 39 year old “Super Woman”, continues to do well. Despite a nagging calf injury the last two weeks, Sanders managed a 26:14 5K time for 93rd place. Sanders balances working full time in the local school system, is a full time student, a wife and mom with two children, and stills finds the time and desire to represent her college on the cross-country team.
“Every week, I’m so proud of each and every one of my cross country athletes. They work hard all week and represent Salem College to the best of their ability every Saturday. Their running talents mixed with their personalities make it a pleasure to coach them. They’re always positive, always willing to work hard, and manage smiles even during hard workouts. What more could a coach ask for?” ~ Coach Widner
Next Saturday, the Spirits will return to Hagan Stone Park to run in the Greensboro Cross-Country Invitational at 1:00 p.m.