By Carey Phillips


Smoky Mountain’s men’s and women’s cross country teams edged Hendersonville last Thursday at Flat Rock Park.

The Lady Mustangs had 28 points to Hendersonville’s 31. The Mustangs men finished with 33 points to 38 for the Bearcats. East Henderson also competed but did not have enough runners to qualify for team standings.

Lily Buenting paced the SM women as she was second in 22:51. Completing the Lady Mustangs’ top five were:

Sophia Ammons, fourth, 23:27; Maia Wilde, fifth, 23:34; Lydia Norman, eighth, 24:44; and Holly McCoy, ninth, 24:51.

“The girls had great races, but thanks to the combined efforts of Lydia Norman and Holly McCoy, who both beat Hendersonville’s number five runner in the last 50 meters of the race, the girls pulled off a great win in the last few meters,” Coach Pam Shuler said.

Mitchell Russotti led the Mustang men as he was third in 18:48. Rounding out SM’s top five were:

Parker Smith, fourth, 18:54; Caleb Phillips, fifth, 18:54.3; Juan Guerrero, seventh, 19:14; and Coleman Hopfinger, 14th, 21:17.

“The boys all ran exceptionally good races, and with the close pack of runners Russotti, Smith, Phillips and Guerrero, the boys pulled off a surprising win over Hendersonville,” Shuler said.

Saturday’s meet at the Recreation Center in Cullowhee was called off due to course conditions from Friday’s rain.