The LaGrange College men's and women's cross-country teams are looking forward to taking the next step in the fall, as Panthers third-year head coach Jasen Jonus released the 2020 schedule on Monday.
The Panthers will open their season at the Middle Georgia Invitational on Sept. 5, with the men starting competition at 8:30 a.m. and the women racing at 9:30 a.m. in Macon, Georgia.
During the 2019 Middle Georgia Invitational, sophomore Bryan Storie finished first overall out of 45 runners. On the women's side, freshman Alex Whiten was LaGrange's top-performer, finishing 28th overall out of 79 competitors.
"I am excited for the 2020 season," said Whiten. "I am going to really focus and train hard this summer to be prepared. I think our team will accomplish many goals that we have set for next season. I cannot wait to get back to seeing my supportive team."
The Panthers will compete in two more meets in September, featuring the GMC Brickyard Invitational on Sept. 11 in Milledgeville, Georgia, and the Huntingdon Invitational on Sept. 18. Huntingdon will also be hosting the USA South Championship on Oct. 31, so the Panthers will be able to get familiar with the course.
Prior to the conference meet, the Panthers will participate in the 15th-annual Foothills Invitational on Oct. 3 in Oxford, Alabama. The group will conclude its regular-season slate with the Berry Invitational on Oct. 17 in Mount Berry, Georgia.
The Panthers made enormous strides during the 2019 season and the team expects to take the next step in its evolution in 2020. In addition to Jonus, the coaching staff features Sarah Bearden, who brings a great deal of experience and credibility from her outstanding collegiate career.
At the USA South Championship on Nov. 2, 2019, the Panthers put all their hard work together, shattering 11 personal records. Earlier in the season on Oct. 5, LaGrange accomplished the same feat, breaking 11 personal records at the Foothills Invitational.
On the individual side, the Panthers compiled some terrific moments. Sophomore Holly Moreland, who earned USA South All-Conference Honorable Mention honors at the 2018 conference meet, was the Panthers' first-place finisher in all four meets that she competed in during the 2019 season.
Whiten, who hails from Dallas, Georgia, was tremendous during her rookie campaign, finishing in the squad's first slot two times and second slot four times. She clocked a personal record of 28:15.3 on the 6-kilometer course at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Championship.
On the men's side, Storie was LaGrange's top-performer in all six meets during the 2019 campaign, while earning runner-up honors out of 64 runners at the N.C. Wesleyan Invitational. The Perry, Georgia, native earned a 33rd-place finish out of 106 runners at the conference meet, clocking a career-best time of 27:49.67 in the 8-kilometer.
Freshman Jyheem Rollins transitioned smoothly to the collegiate stage in 2019. He finished right behind Storie in the Panthers' second spot during all six meets. Rollins placed 74th overall and clocked a career-best time of 31:33.61 on the 8-kilometer course at the USA South Championship.