The Georgia cross country teams took part in the Bulldog Invitational Saturday morning at the UGA Golf Course. The meet was the first of five regular season events and the Bulldogs’ only cross country competition scheduled to take place at home.
“I thought today was really interesting,” distance coach Patrick Cunniff said. “It’s always nice to get the season started on the golf course. The course looked amazing.”
Three schools — Georgia, Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech — were featured in the meet with other runners competing as individuals.
Georgia Tech finished at the top with the men scoring 15 and the women scoring 23. The Lady Bulldogs finished second with a score of 37. The Georgia men were also runners-up with 51 points scored.
Prior to the meet, Georgia named its team captains for the season. Cunniff announced seniors Jessica Drop and Ansley Heavern will lead the Lady Bulldogs. Juniors Taylor Scarbrough and Michael Hans will captain the men.
The Georgia men started the morning off at 8:15 a.m. with their 6k run. Nine Bulldog men participated in the event with two top-15 finishers.
Freshman Nicholas Yanek finished 10th overall with a time of 18 minutes, 38 seconds in his first meet as a Bulldog. Junior Jack Bradley was the next Georgia runner to cross the line at 13th overall and a 18:54.4 official time. Scarbrough finished at 19:12.1.
Junior Samantha Drop took the victory in the women’s 4k. She finished with a time of 13:14.7, 12 seconds before the second place runner. Drop led a successful day for the Georgia women, who had six runners in the top 15.
“It feels amazing,” Drop said. “I raced a little bit of track last year, but my favorite season is cross country. So it’s amazing just being out there. The course is awesome.”
Sophomore Nicole Pachuta scored for the second time in her career after registering a time of 13:45.7. Fellow sophomore Skylar English finished ninth at 13:59.9.
Freshman Caroline McArthur raised some eyebrows in her collegiate debut. She took 13th with a 14:13.2 in a talented women’s race.
“For the women, I’m really happy with the effort. I thought we executed the race plan very well,” Cunniff said. “We didn’t race Jessica Drop, and to see Samantha Drop inherit that place up at the front is a good sign.”
Georgia will be back in action Sept. 14 in Nashville for the Vanderbilt Invitational.