Eagles cross-country makes season debut at Alligator Lake

Special to the Outlook

LAKE CITY, Fla. — The Tallahassee Community College Eagles are back.   

Six months and six days after its last athletics event, Tallahassee’s men’s and women’s cross country teams ran its 2020 season opener last Friday at the Alligator Lake Invitational.  

The Eagles had been dormant since March 12. That afternoon, the baseball and softball teams were on the diamonds while the athletics world was in the process of coming to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rest of the spring sports season, which included track and field, as well as men’s basketball’s trip to the NJCAA Tournament, was lost. Running against that backdrop, Friday afternoon was poised to be a victory, results notwithstanding.  

Will Stratton led the Eagle in their first fall cross-country meet in six months.
Photo courtesy of Steve Winterling

“It took a lot of time and effort to arrive at today. Watching the team board the bus was a victory,” said director of athletics Rob Chaney. “I’ve wanted to impress upon the runners the critical role they play in setting the tone for our athletics department, especially this season. Even though they are the only sport (in season) until the spring semester, I hope the rest of our teams will be encouraged seeing the Eagles back in the athletics arena.”  

The NJCAA, in July, announced cross country would remain a fall sport in 2020 while basketball would shift entirely to the spring semester, alongside baseball, softball and track and field.  

While the Eagles did not post a team score in Lake City, five runners – three males and two females – competed in the 5K races, all making their debut in the blue and gold.  

In the men’s race, University of North Carolina Pembroke transfers Will Stratton and Mat Maier paced the Eagles with top 20 finishes. Stratton, finished 15th overall with a time of 18:02.1 while Maier was right behind in 16th with a time of 18:10.1.  

Freshman Shawn Marcum, a Chiles High School graduate, crossed the line in 18:44.3, good for 23rd.  

In the women’s race, Yesenia Rhoades clocked a 31.17:5, while Lauren Sanders finished in 44:03.0.  

Tallahassee is scheduled to compete in the annual FSU Invitational on Oct. 2.