Written by Alexis Barton
To kick off their season, the men’s and women’s cross country teams headed to Bridgewater College to compete in the Eagles XC Challenge. After previous success in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, the Maroons were looking to start off strong and make a name for themselves this season.
The women’s team was led by Zoe Dunlap who placed 11th out of 57 competitors. Dunlap was followed closely by twin sisters Lauren and Ashley Brown, who placed 16th and 23rd, respectively. Roanoke’s 2021 Outstanding Woman Athlete of the Year, Hannah Koepfinger, rounded out the top runners for the Maroons. Though Koepfinger is well-known for her performance in track and field, her athleticism propelled her to success as she took the 25th spot in the final results.
The men’s team had two of the top-three finishers amongst them with Peter Smith and Cooper Neeble. Smith, a junior from Cave Spring, VA, claimed his first collegiate victory for the Maroons with a time of 12:54.2. Other stellar performers included freshman Franklin Reid, who came in 14th out of 46 competitors. Tim Hofstaetter, a renowned track and field star for the Maroons, also helped lead the team to victory, as he, Robert Birdsall, and Cameron Ballinger cruised in at 18th, 19th, and 20th place, respectively.
The Maroons came out successful, as the men’s team took the 2nd place spot and the women’s team came in 3rd. The men were close behind Bridgewater, who led by only 13 points and 2 minutes in total time. The women were also close behind Bridgewater, who took second place in the women’s competition. As they look ahead to their next event, the WildCat XC Invitational, both of these teams appear ready to compete for the long haul.