CULLOWHEE, N.C. – The men’s and women’s cross country team kicked off the season at Western Carolina University’s Cross Country Invitational. The men competed in a 5K instead of the normal 8K and the women competed in a 2-mile run instead of the 5K.

The men finished in eighth place overall with freshman Franky Mills leading the way by finishing the 5k in 16:39.96. The women finished 11th.

“I came to the meet ready to compete”, said Mills.

Mills is a transfer student from Susquehanna University located in Pennsylvania and looks forward to competing this year. Junior Saeed Jones ran second for the Aggies with a time of 16:50.03. Jones is a returns this after having the lowest average time from a year ago.

On the women’s side, team captain Jenessa Benn led the Aggies with a time of 12:42.26. Benn was very pleased with her performance since her time was an improvement from a previous practice time trial. Benn was very pleased with both teams’ overall performances and believes that the team will drastically improve. Sophomore Janay Ferrell placed second for the Aggies with a time of 13:17.24.

Since the women’s side lacks in numbers, coaches brought three sprinters from the track and field team to fill in the holes. Freshman Daniqua Dye and juniors Felexia Brasswell and Roshel Bygrave stepped up and ran good times to ensure the teams overall ranking of 11th place. Bygrave finished third for the Aggies with the time of 14:25.06.

Perry Cabean, the Aggies distance runner coach, was very pleased with both teams performances. Many of the runner’s times improved since their time trial runs in practice a couple weeks ago.

“Overall I was pleased, but I know that we still have a lot of work to do,” said Cabean.  “There’s still 12 weeks left in the season and we have a lot of room for improvement.”

Both teams look forward to traveling to Durham, N.C., where they will compete in the NCCU/A&T Relay on Saturday, Sept. 7.