by Haiden Widener, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
|Julia Kuhn | CAMPUS CARRIER|
|Freshman Alyssa Fowler keeps a calm and steady pace during the Watermelon Run on Sept. 1. She finished in the top five of Berry runners.|
Both men and women’s cross country teams were filled with watermelon and happiness after their race on Sept. 1. This race is called the Watermelon Run for a reason: at the end of both races, all of the teams come together and eat watermelon as a collective group. Here runners also swap t-shirts with each other after eating watermelon.
In the past, this race has been held at Emory University and has only been between Emory and Berry. This year Berry decided to host it and invite schools from all around Georgia. The schools this year included Emory, Oglethorpe, Piedmont, Agnes Scott and LaGrange.
The women’s 6K race started first in the late evening, with four of the top five runners finishing from Emory. But Berry runner, senior and captain Danielle Patterson, finished second overall with a time of 23:44, an impressive 22 seconds in front of the third place runner.
“I’m very pleased with my performance,” Patterson said. “I was able to race a lot of the Emory girls and started off my season better than I did last year.”
Patterson hopes to qualify for nationals this season, as she has come close the last two years.
“I’m a senior,” she said. “This is my last chance.”
Freshman Abby Carrol placed sixth overall in the race. The rest of the top five finishers for Berry include Alyssa Fowler, Bethany Terpin and Alainna Chretien.
While there are improvements to be made over the season, Patterson thinks they will see those improvements if they are intentional about the workouts and runs scheduled.
“I think following Coach Deaton’s training plan will do the trick,” she added.
After getting a late start to the 8K race, the men’s team started their season off in the dark, but still had two finishers in the top five overall. Sophomore Will Knowlton finished second with a time of 27:28, and senior captain Ebenezer Agaro finished in fifth. The other three of the top five runners were all from Emory.
Sophomore Lance Smith finished seventh overall, with freshman Brayden Fulton in a close eighth. Robert Bevins was the fifth finisher for Berry, eleventh place overall.
Knowlton described the nighttime race as serene.
“It was really calming and peaceful running in the dark,” he said.
With this being the first race of the season, the men had originally decided to treat it as a workout instead of a competition. But those thoughts quickly changed when they realized they had a chance to top Emory, a tough competitor. After a long week of hard workouts and running on tired legs, Knowlton was impressed with the performance of the team.
“I think it is a good representation of our current fitness level,” he said. “If I can run a 27:28 on tired legs, what can I or the rest of the team do when well rested?”
With the great performance during the Watermelon Run, the team is looking forward to the rest of the season and believes it will go well.
“As a team this year we have a great deal of depth,” Knowlton said. “We have a great strong group.”
Both men’s and women’s teams will be traveling to the Otterbein Invitational in Westerville, Ohio on Sept. 16 and 17 for their next meet.
The next home meet will be Oct. 15 on the Clara Bowl course. Berry will also be hosting Regionals this year on Nov. 12.