In its opening race of the season, NC State men’s cross country finished second out of 10 teams with a total of 58 points at the adidas XC Challenge at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. The race, since it is considered preseason, was a 6K rather than the typical 8K that NC State will run in throughout the season.
Redshirt junior Joe Bisritz, in his first race since an injury kept him out of the spring track season, led the way for the Wolfpack finishing in ninth place with a time of 18:09.4.
“I think it was a step in the right direction,” Bisritz said. “I had an injury in January and was out for the entire track season so kind of leading up to this race having not raced since then I was extremely nervous.”
This event attracted local schools such as UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina A&T and Davidson, as well as schools from outside the state such as Michigan, Charleston Southern and The Citadel.
Michigan dominated the race, taking first place with eight of the top 10 finishers in the race.
This was the team's first race since it was announced that longtime NC State head coach
Rollie Geiger would be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of fame later this year.
“There's a movie called good, bad and ugly; that was just ugly,” Geiger said. “It really was, Michigan is good, they got a good squad, and are well-coached, but having said that, we didn’t race well today. We got to change that and get back to work, and forget about rankings, and forget about what you did last year and get back to the basics.”
Next for the Wolfpack was freshman Ares Epps, who finished 12th in his first race as a collegiate athlete with a time of 18:19.0.
To round out the top five, NC State had three runners finish consecutively, 15 through 17: junior Gavin Gaynor at 8:42.7, freshman Yared Mekonnen at 18.29.7 and junior Tim Bason at 18:34.3.
In total, NC State sent out seven runners, but only the top five runners count for the score. Senior Tanis Baldwin finished 27th with a time of 19:08.6, and freshman Peyton Barish finished 31st with a time of 19:18.3 to round out the last two runners for the Wolfpack.
“We had quite a few athletes who didn't line up today, but having said that we have to do better as a program,” Geiger said. “We had some guys that sat out that are actually very good, but you line up who you have and we just didn't perform at the level at the way they think they are capable.”
The Wolfpack will be back in action on October 4 for the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.