CROSS COUNTRY: Leman picks up where she left, takes seventh at UT Tyler Invitational
TYLER, Texas – With rosters filled with enthusiastic newcomers, the LeTourneau YellowJackets men's and women's cross country teams opened their season Saturday at the UT Tyler Cross Country Invitational.
Facing strong competition from scholarship-level programs and deep Division III teams, the YellowJackets gave a respectable showing Saturday as the LeTourneau men, with the requisite five runners, finished sixth out of eight teams – and ahead of local NAIA programs Wiley College and Jarvis Christian.
The LeTourneau women finished fifth place in their meet, ahead of Jarvis Christian.
Junior runner Nicole Leman (Anchorage, Alaska/Grace Christian School) highlighted LeTourneau's individual efforts Saturday, finishing 7th out of 57 runners in the women's field. Leman, who is beginning her second season of cross country at LeTourneau, finished the race with a time of 21 minutes, 11.92 seconds.
Among Division III runners, Leman finished second behind Missy Hebert of UT Tyler. Division II program Southern Arkansas won the team event when Lady Mulerider runners accounted for the top five finishes.
Last season, Leman led the YellowJackets in every one of their races and became the first female runner in LeTourneau history to win a meet when she broke the tape at the University of Dallas Invitational.
The men's team was led by newcomer Peter Martin (San Antonio, Texas/San Antonio Christian School), who finished 20th out of 69 competitors in the men's field with a time of 29:55.22 in his first collegiate event. Martin transferred to LeTourneau from Texas-San Antonio, where he attended classes after graduating high school in 2010.
Brendan Palmer (Westerville, Ohio/Home school) finished 30th for the YellowJackets with a time of 31:28.73. Palmer was the lone returner for the Jackets competing in Saturday's meet.
Newcomers Blake Barringer (Willis, Texas/Covenant Christian), Josh Collins (Fort Worth, Texas/Richland) and Tim McDougall (Glendora, Calif./Glendora) finished one right after the other to round out the LeTourneau scores. Barringer finished 34th with a time of 33:33.77, followed by Collins (34:58.68) and McDougall (36:20.49).
Lon Morris College won the team event after placing five runners among the top eight finishers Saturday.
The YellowJacket women had two other runners place in the Top 30, as first-year collegiate athlete Hannah Wiedenfeld (Crystal Lake, Ill./Home school) finished 20th recorded a time of 23:04.85. LeTourneau freshman Annie Brasket (Winnsboro, Texas/Harmony) finished 30th with a time of 26:11.12.
Junior Hollie Bryant (Howe, Texas/Howe) finished 33rd with a time of 29:14.98. LETU senior and first-year runner Bonnie Daniels (Canton, Texas/Home school) rounded out the YellowJackets' scoring with a time of 30:07.54, good for 36th place.
Longview native and Spring Hill alumna Chelsea Stephens also ran for the Jackets, finishing 39th with a time of 30:40.59.
The YellowJackets will be in action again next Saturday when they travel to Ruston, La. to compete in the Louisiana Tech Mook 4 run. The meet is scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. start time.