On Saturday, Aug. 31, the Mercer University men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the Georgia Cross Country Invitational against the University of Georgia (UGA), The Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech) and Emmanuel College.
Located at the Equestrian complex of the University of Georgia, also referred to as the Georgia Stampede, the UGA Cross-Country Team and Oconee County High School co-hosted the event.
For the women, Linda Wrede, a freshman competing in the 5K, took 13th, the highest of standings for the Mercer women, with a time of 19:23.21. Sony Prosper, senior competing in the 8k run, also took 13th, the highest standing for the Mercer men, with a posted finish of 26:50.35. Wrede commented on her race.
“I am from Germany, so I’ve never run in a collegiate race like this before; everything was new for me. Before the race I was concerned about how well the other teams [would] perform and how fast they could run, but after the gunshot, all my fears were gone and I just concentrated on the race.”
Wrede continued, “For future races I hope to improve my strategy and continue practicing to become faster; I really want to break the 19 minute mark.”
Seniors Davis Trexler, finishing 26th with a 27:29.55 time, and Sony Prosper both posted exceptional times in the individual standings, starting their final season competing in Mercer men’s cross-country team.
On the women’s team, Kami Orrender, sophomore, finished 28 with a time of 20:02.52. Lena Hamvas, senior, just 18 seconds behind, finished in 33rd place with a posted time of 20:20.28.
Both the men and the women’s teams took home third-place honors in the team standings. They will also both compete on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Commodore Classic, hosted by Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Senior Sony Prosper said, “As a team, we could’ve done better but it was just the first race. I feel that we are nowhere near our prime or peak. So we still have a long way to go before conference.”
Wrede, said, “I’ve run a lot of races before, but the first college race is always something special and unique. I’ve never had [the op- portunity] to compete as a team, so I am glad to be part of such a talented team this year where you can easily find friends. Everyone supports one another while practicing in the heat, rain, or in the competition. I think the strength of the team is to provide motivation for every single member and to [encourage] for future performances.”
Prosper also commented on the team saying, “When you put on the Mercer jersey, you basically make a commitment to endure pain. We want you to put in 100% effort when you put on that jersey, that’s what I’m trying to get across.”
Prosper continued saying, “This year we’re trying to focus on regionals. Last year, we finished 12th out of the 26 teams of the south; we’re trying to make top 10. In terms of growth, I would like to see some of the new runners get accustomed to the 8K because that’s a new distance for some of them. For returning runners, just continue staying strong and continue being positive. For me, continue working hard and to have them work hard.”