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Oliver Wilson-Cook
Oliver Wilson-Cook, a three time conference runner of the week, finished second overall at the Sun Belt Championship.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Men’s Cross Country Wins Sun Belt Championship, Women Finish Fifth

The App State men’s cross country team captured the title at the 2023 Sun Belt Championship meet on Saturday in Foley, Ala., winning their first championship since 2019.

“Coach Brad Herbster and the guys put together a plan from Day One and they stuck with it, and now we see the results,” App State director of track & field/cross country Damion McLean said.

App State totaled 28 team points, with four of the top six finishers and five of the top 13, to outpace runner-up Arkansas State by 19 team points.

The 28 points marked the lowest total at the Championships since 2013.

Senior Oliver Wilson-Cook, a three-time Sun Belt Runner of the Week honoree this season, placed second overall with a time of 24 minutes, 40.4 seconds over the 8K distance. Seniors Calbert Guest and Dwayne Lillie followed close behind to take third (24:46.3) and fourth (24:53.6), respectively. The trio garnered first-team All-SBC accolades for their efforts on the course.

Junior Garrett Bivens finished sixth with a time of 25:05.0 to earn second-team all-conference honors, and graduate student Jonah Bird placed 13th with a time of 25:42.7 to earn a spot on the all-conference third team. Ben Datte (16th, 26:04.6) and Ethan Lipham (18th, 26:24.0) rounded out the top seven in impressive fashion.

South Alabama’s Teagan Flanagan took the individual crown with a time of 23:57.2.

“The men really executed well,” Herbster said. “It was hot conditions, but they raced smart, and every single guy played a role. Oliver Wilson-Cook made a move and came back to the pack. Calbert Guest made a move and took Dwayne Lillie and Oliver Wilson-Cook with him. Garrett Bivens raced really tough and finished strong. Jonah Bird ran a great race. Having five all-conference and seven in the top 20 is a testament to the guys’ work and dedication.”

“Thank you to Coach Damion McLean for the opportunity and all of the support from alumni, administrators and fans. It’s great to bring the title back home to Boone.”

App State’s women placed fifth in the team standings with 125 points.

Senior Jasmine Donohue set the pace for the Mountaineers in the women’s 5K, finishing eighth with a personal-best time of 17:36.9. Donohue’s finish earned her second-team All-Sun Belt honors. Junior Karsyn Kane was the next Mountaineer to cross the finish line with a time of 18:28.1 to place 18th. Freshman Rhys Ammon rounded out the top 25 with a time of 18:38.8.

Juniors Linnea Maynard and Lana Farris clocked times of 19:03.6 and 19:13.8 to place, 33rd and 41st, respectively.

Arkansas State took the team title with 48 points, while Coastal Carolina’s Molly Jones took the individual title in a time of 16:37.9.

The men’s and women’s teams will compete at the NCAA Southeast Regional on Nov. 10 in Spartanburg, S.C. The women’s 6K is set for 11 a.m. with the men’s 10K to follow at 12 p.m.

Men’s Team Standings
1.App State – 28 points
2. Arkansas State – 47 points
3. ULM – 108 points
4. Texas State – 122 points
5. South Alabama – 123 points
6. Marshall – 146 points
7. Louisiana – 171 points
8. Coastal Carolina – 189 points
9. Troy – 241 points

App State All-Conference Honorees
First Team
Oliver Wilson-Cook
Calbert Guest
Dwayne Lillie

Second Team
Garrett Bivens

Third Team
Jonah Bird

Women’s Team Standings
1. Arkansas State – 48 points
2. James Madison – 89 points
3. Marshall – 101 points
4. Coastal Carolina – 124 points
5. App State – 125 points
6. South Alabama – 136 points
7. Southern Miss – 166 points
8. Texas State – 192 points
9. Louisiana – 204 points
10. ULM – 224 points
11. Georgia Southern – 303 points
12. Georgia State – 324 points
13. Troy – 324 points

App State All-Conference Honorees
Second Team
Jasmine Donohue