Piedmont College Men and Women’s Cross Country Close Out Season

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Piedmont College cross country competed in the 2019 NCAA Division III Cross Country Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Memphis, Tennessee. Rhodes College hosted both the men’s and women’s meets at Shelby Farms. 

At least one runner from 47 institutions competed among the two races, with nine schools representing the USA South. On the men’s side, recent conference champions, Berea College, entered the meet as the top-ranked school in the region, while Emory and Washington & Lee were second and third, respectively. 

Piedmont College opened up regionals coming off a pair of top-three finishes in the conference championships; the men’s team tied for second with Covenant, while the women placed third.

Sophomore Val Angel has paced the Lady Lions all season, setting a personal best on the 6k course during the conference championship with a 24:27.5. Alongside Angel’s impressive performances, six runners were named All-Conference. Angel appeared on the second team, while seniors Casey Todd and Analee Bradach made the third team. Freshmen Josey George and Addie Bolton, as well as senior Haley Bolt were named Honorable Mention All-Conference.

On the men’s side, senior Bryce Griggs led Piedmont to a school-best 8k average time of 26:51 in the conference championship, finishing eighth place overall  to earn Second Team All-Conference honors. Freshman Gary Halverson joined Griggs for a spot on the second team, while Noah Irwin, Connor Moranos, Alvin Jacobs and Nathan Galloway were placed on the third team. Junior Garrett Stafford found himself in the honorable mention lineup, completing a remarkable list of 13 Piedmont College Lions on the all-conference podium.

After overwhelming the podium at the conference championships, the men’s cross country team placed 12th in Saturday’s regional meet, marking a program-best finish for the Lions; Piedmont improved from last season’s 17th-place finish.

“Running has taught me to never give up in life and to keep pushing to be the best you can be in everything you do,” said senior Bryce Griggs. “If you put your mind to something and believe in yourself, you can do anything you want.”

Freshman Noah Irwin led Piedmont for the first time this season, scoring 59th with a personal-best 8k time of 26:28.1. Trailing close behind was sophomore Connor Moranos, placing 62nd, after also producing a personal best of 26:49.2.

Upperclassmen Garrett Stafford and Bryce Griggs were the next Piedmont runners to score; Stafford finished in 69th with a time of 26:54.7, before Griggs came home in 74th after running the course in 26:59.4.

“I feel accomplished and I’m really proud of the team as a whole. We trained so hard this season to be where we are now,” Griggs said. “I’m excited to see what Coach Jimison does to the program and I think this team will be very successful in the years to come.”

The Piedmont College women’s cross country team wrapped its season up with a 16th place finish in Memphis, scoring 470 points. Once again, sophomore Val Angel topped her personal-best, finishing in 24:01.6. Seniors Casey Todd and Analee Bradach were the next runners to score for Piedmont. 

“My feelings and emotions were definitely just in a space of staying positive. I tend to see a course and hate it, and then I focus a lot on how I hate it and how it will negatively affect my race,” Todd said. “But this race, I was more trying to go into it with the mindset ‘last one, fast one.’”

Todd ran to an 86th-place finish in 24:19.0, before Bradach crossed the line in 92nd, completing the course in 24:30.2.

“Besides the ups and downs, we were a team through everything, and with a new coach, I definitely appreciated this season even more,” Todd said.