Trojans Win Eighth Consecutive Conference Carolinas Men's Cross Country Championship

Photo by James Benson
Photo by James Benson

MOUNT OLIVE, North Carolina - The University of Mount Olive men's cross country finished first of 11 teams that competed in the 2019 Conference Carolinas Men's Cross Country Championship. Senior Tai Smith claimed the 2019 Conference Carolinas Runner of the Year honors finishing first with a time of 25:42.4.

Eighty-four runners began the men's race at 10 AM on Saturday morning. When the dust settled the Mount Olive Trojans claimed the top six places for a perfect team score of 15 points. The team title is the eighth consecutive title for the men's cross country team.

The Trojans were at the front of the pack a majority of the race and it was senior Tai Smith who crossed the finish line first with a time of 25:42.4. Jacob Gonzalez followed eight seconds later to finish second with a time of 25:50.9.

Branson Oduor (25:53.3), Jacob Willis (25:55.3), and Jay Hall (25:56.4) rounded out the top five finishing within three seconds of each other. Daniel Francken was just outside the top-five with a time of 25:59.8 to claim a sixth-place finish and a second-team all-conference honor.

Jett Hall claimed a 23rd place finish and Ben Aris finished 35th. Lane Woodall and Aidan Gilbride rounded out the race for UMO crossing the finish line 50th and 51st respectively.

Coach of the Year - Jackie Kirby
Runner of the Year - Tai Smith
1st-Team All-Conference - Tai Smith 
1st-Team All-Conference - Jacob Gonzalez
1st-Team All-Conference - Branson Oduor
1st-Team All-Conference - Jacob Willis
1st-Team All-Conference - Jay Hall
2nd-Team All-Conference - Daniel Francken
3rd-Team All-Conference - Altan Cornu

The Trojans are back in action in two weeks when they travel to Wingate, NC, for the 2019 NCAA Southeast Regionals hosted by Wingate University.