By Paul Morgan
Special to the Times
Can there be another sport as demanding of the individual as cross country?
While the term warrior is much over-used in the sports world, there is no doubt that, if you are to succeed as a distance runner, you have to be just that, a gritty, committed warrior.
Your battle has nothing to do with a team, a game, defending a goal or scoring points. Rather, your battle is against the clock, the elements and your own endurance. Tenacity has to be the name of your game, and yours is often a lonely battlefield.
At Brevard College, a small band of cross country runners are mid-way through their fall schedule, and, under the tutelage of new Coach Mike McClaran, have experienced modest success in three September meets.
Led by seniors Brent Turner, Elena Raygoza and Madison Smith, and junior Hassan Kiprono, the Tornados have battled their way to respectable showings in meets at USC Upstate in Spartanburg, Furman University in Greenville, S.C. and Winthrop College in Rock Hill, S.C.
Coach McClaran returns to his alma mater this year, replacing former BC runner Josh Mower, who has moved on to do graduate work in North Dakota. McClaran was a standout distance runner at BC from 1990 to 1992, when the college was still a two year institution. He moved on to Auburn, graduating as an AU Tiger in 1995.
“I’ve been involved in distance running in one way or another for most of my life,” McClaran said. “I plan to be at Brevard for a long time, and to build a strong program. We have a proud history of distance running success here, and I hope to add to that history.
“Our goals this year are modest,” Coach McClaran added. “Everyone on the team wants to run his, or her, personal best. Hassan (Kiprono) ran his lifetime best at Winthrop a couple of weeks ago, and I was really proud of him.”
Junior Kiprono, from Kenya in East Africa, and Louisiana-born senior Brent Turner have consistently paced the Tornado men this season. On the ladies’ side of the roster, Quartz Hill, Calif. senior Elena Raygoza and fellow senior Madison Smith, from Duvall, Wash., lead the way.
Rounding out the men’s roster are senior Micah Voelzow from Charlotte, junior Henry Crowder from Tampa, Fla., sophomores Jordan Lance from Panama City Beach, Fla. and Dal Davis from Durham, and freshmen Michael Anton from Woodleaf, N.C. and Tucker Fry from Greenville, N.C.
BC ladies Raygoza and Smith are supported by talented freshmen, Kaitlin Chaump from Tyler, Texas, Mary Davis from Raleigh, Rhyanna Hadden from Rock Falls, Ill., and Olympia Poplin from Ann Arbor, Mich.
“While seniors Elena and Madison are clearly our leaders,” Coach McClaran said, “the four freshmen are also running well and give us something special to build on for next season.”
The Tornados travel to Asheville Oct. 1 for the UNCA Cross Country Challenge. Competing schools include Western Carolina, Winthrop, Mars Hill, Campbell, High Point and host UNCA. The event will be held at the Asheville Christian Academy.
“I think we are opening a few eyes with our performances this season,” Coach McClaran said. “The big thing with distance runners is to keep everyone healthy, especially w/a small group like ours. Recruiting is on-going, and with the college moving to the NCAA’s Division III, we expect to be increasingly competitive.”
Paul Morgan is a
Retired Journalist and
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Brevard College Women’s Cross Country team finished off their third face of the season with a 12th-place turn at the Winthrop/Adidas 33rd Invitational Saturday morning in Rock Hill, S.C.
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Junior Hassan Kiprono (Iten, Kenya) and senior Brent Turner (West Monroe, La.) power Tornados to fourth-place finish at 33rd annual Winthrop/Adidas Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C. Saturday morning.
GREENVILLE, S.C – The Brevard College Women’s Cross Country team capped off the Furman XC Classic in Greenville, S.C. Saturday Afternoon with a pair of top-100 placements in a field of over 160 non-division I runners.
GREENVILLE, S.C – The Brevard College Men’s Cross Country team ran to a 10-place showing at the Furman XC Classic Saturday afternoon in a field of just under 200 runners and a total of 18 teams at the non-division 1 level.