September 4, 2015
Strong start to 2015 season for Tech women's cross country squad
Men's race was cancelled because of lightning
2015 Hokie Invite Results

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BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech runner Shannon Morton finished in 10th place, as the Hokie women’s cross country team opened the 2015 by competing in the Hokie Invite held at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course on Friday evening.

The weather wreaked havoc on the meet, as lightning forced a 45-minute delay in starting the event. The men’s race started after the women’s race, but officials halted the runners midway through the race because of lightning and ultimately cancelled it.

“I never seen that in all my years of coaching,” Tech cross country coach Ben Thomas said. “Obviously, safety comes first. We were able to get the women’s race in, and I thought overall they did a nice job. I was really pleased.”

Only two runners – Morton and Shalonda Mitchell – counted toward Tech's team score, as the rest of the Hokie runners ran unattached. Morton’s time of 14:26.53 was approximately 33 seconds behind the winner, North Carolina’s Josette Norris, who ran the race in 13:53.11. Mitchell came in 19th with a time of 15:04.20.

Jennifer Fleming, a freshman from Blacksburg, was impressive in her debut. Again, competing unattached, she finished second overall behind Norris with a time of 13:59.34. Julie Wiemerslage, a redshirt senior running unattached, finished seventh with a time of 14:18.80, and Jillian Everly, another Tech freshman running unattached, finished ninth with a time of 14:25.92.

Four other Tech freshmen – Amanda Swaak, Alyssa Shupe, Laura Sullivan and Emily Beatty – finished in the top 20, coming in 13th, 14th, 18th and 20th, respectively.

North Carolina, which had six runners in the top 10, claimed first in the team competition, followed by Tennessee and Radford. The Tech runners who ran unattached did not count toward the Hokies’ team score.

In the women’s Division II team competition, Concord was first, followed by Charleston (West Virginia) and Bluefield State.

The Hokies now have two weeks to get ready for their next meet, which will be the VT Alumni Invite on Sept 18. The first race starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course.

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