GREENVILLE, S.C. – It would take Sarah Brandt 38 hours to drive from her home in northern California to Greenville, S.C., where she ran Saturday morning with the Tennessee Tech cross country team in the Furman Invitational.
It took the junior far, far less time to cover the 6K course and lead the Golden Eagles to a ninth place finish among 13 teams in the women's Division I portion of the race.
Auburn won the team title by a comfortable margin over second-place Georgia, with host Furman third. Clemson and Wake Forest rounded out the top 10 in the meet, dominated by SEC and ACC schools. The second five included High Point, Western Carolina, East Tennessee, Tennessee Tech and Mercer.
The Golden Eagles posted a team score of 255 points, just one point back of ETSU with 244. Wofford, VMI and Presbyterian completed the Division I field.
"I was very pleased with our ladies today," said coach Wayne Angel. "They competed with passion and determination.
"Our top five runners closed the gap between one and five. We are starting to look like a very respectable cross country team," Angel said. "We almost beat ETSU. The ladies were really pumped today. I really liked their concentration and enthusiasm."
Brandt covered the 6K distance in 22:43.58 to establish a career-best as a Golden Eagle, following an Junior College All-America career at Butte Community College. She finished 38th overall to top Tech.
"Sarah Brandt ran a very gutsy race today in an outstanding field," Angel said.
In fact, all six Golden Eagle runners established career-best times for 6K, since none had run that distance as a Golden Eagle before the Furman meet.
True freshman Jenna Storms, another California product on the roster, was next across the line for Tech. After pacing Tech last week in the season opener at Indiana, Storms ran a time of 23:05.11 to place 49th overall.
Purity Murray, a junior from Kenya who ran two years at New Mexico Junior College, was third for the Golden Eagles. She placed 58th in the time of 23:32.53.
The next two entries in the scoring column for Tech were a pair of middle distance runners who are stretching their distances this fall while competing in their first season in cross country. Sonel Bezuidenhout was 78th in 24:18.67, while Madison Stremler placed 88th in 25:03.29. Freshman Angela Jepchirchir completed Tech's lineup, finishing 108th in 26:00.79.
The Golden Eagles will run closer to home next weekend, competing Saturday morning in the Commodore Classic, hosted by Vanderbilt University in Nashville's Percy Warner Park.
Sarah Brandt paces Golden Eagle women runners in Furman Invitational
Sep 12, 2015