McMillen wins women's championship, Pioneers sweep sixth at SAC meet

Nicole McMillen approaches the finish line in the SAC Women's Cross Country Championship race (photo courtesy Wingate University)
Nicole McMillen approaches the finish line in the SAC Women's Cross Country Championship race (photo courtesy Wingate University)

WINGATE, N.C. --- Tusculum University's Nicole McMillen won the South Atlantic Conference Women's Cross Country championship as the conference held its annual meet Saturday morning at the Wingate Cross Country Facility.

McMillen helped the Pioneer women to a sixth-place finish out of 12 teams at the championship, while the men also finished sixth overall as Kyler Hodges was the top men's finisher with a sixth-place run for the Pioneers.

Tusculum will prepare for the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional meet, which will be held at the same site on Saturday, Nov. 8.

McMillen, who had three wins and a runner-up finish in her four regular-season races, claimed the SAC title by more than 25 seconds over 2017 SAC champion Hannah Wolkenhauer. McMillen covered the 6-kilometer course in 21:37.4, with Wolkenhauer taking second place with a time of 22:02.8.

McMillen, a native of Pickering, Ontario, finished fifth at last year's SAC Championship in her first collegiate race. She is the first Pioneer to win the women's individual title since SAC Hall of Famer Amanda Musick in 2003.

Senior Alissa Furches finished 24th with a time of 23:46.3, followed by freshman Emmi Hulse in 38th place at 24:59.4. Freshmen Gabrielle Beckett and Erin Bruce finished back-to-back, with Beckett crossing in 50th place at 25:52.8 and Bruce in 51st place at 25:57.7. Senior Brooklyn Smith was the final finisher for the Pioneers, taking 65th in the field of 86 runners with a time of 27:41.9.

Queens had four runners in the top 11 and won the team championship for the fourth consecutive year with 48 points, with Wingate in second with 71 points. Lenoir-Rhyne took third with 84 points, followed by Anderson (97), Catawba (123) and Tusculum (146) in the top six.

Hodges became the first Pioneer to earn a top-10 finish at the SAC Championship since David Cooper was eighth in 2014. Hodges was the second non-Queens runner to cross the finish line, placing sixth overall in 26:14.0 to capture first-team All-SAC honors.

Junior Will Cronin finished 20th overall and received honorable mention All-SAC status with a time of 26:53.9. Sophomore Alex Perez was 33rd in 27:28.9, followed closely by senior Taylor Tupps in 36th place at 27:39.9. Senior Kyle Stanley was the fifth scorer for the Pioneers, taking 45th place with a time of 28:20.4.

Sophomore Carson Walls finished in 56th place with a time of 29:04.0, freshman Antonio Aparacio was 82nd overall in 32:16.9 and junior Isaac Hybarger came in 86th overall out of 99 runners with a time of 32:59.7.

Yannik Duppich of Queens was the meet champion with a time of 25:33.8, beating teammate Nick Kipkemeil by just under five seconds. Micah Kipchumba of Wingate was third in 25:41.7, followed by Anthony Raftis and Felix Wammetsberger of Queens to round out the top five.

Queens had 22 team points in the meet, followed by Anderson with 97, Wingate at 112 and Lenoir-Rhyne with 112. Catawba (122 points) and Tusculum (131) rounded out the upper half of the field.

South Atlantic Conference Cross Country Championship
at Wingate XC Facility
Women's Results
Tusculum finishers: 1. Nicole McMillen, 21:37.4; 24. Alissa Furches, 23:46.3; 38. Emmi Hulse, 24:59.4; 50. Gabrielle Beckett, 25:52.8; 51. Erin Bruce, 25:57.7; 65. Brooklyn Smith, 27:41.9.
Team results: 1. Queens, 48; 2. Wingate, 71; 3. Lenoir-Rhyne, 84; 4. Anderson, 97; 5. Catawba, 123; 6. Tusculum, 146; 7. Carson-Newman, 225; 8. Mars Hill, 233; 9. Lincoln Memorial, 241; 10. Newberry, 286; 11. Coker, 299; 12. UVa-Wise, 305.

Men's Results
Tusculum finishers: 6. Kyler Hodges, 26:14.0; 20. Will Cronin, 26:53.9; 33. Alex Perez, 27:28.9; 36. Taylor Tupps, 27:39.9; 45. Kyle Stanley, 28:20.4; 56. Carson Walls, 29:04.0; 82. Antonio Aparicio, 32:16.9; 86. Isaac Hybarger, 32:59.7.
Team results: 1. Queens, 22; 2. Anderson, 97; 3. Wingate, 111; 4. Lenoir-Rhyne, 112; 5. Catawba, 122; 6. Tusculum, 131; 7. Lincoln Memorial, 151; 8. Carson-Newman, 200; 9. Mars Hill, 233; 10. Newberry, 303; 11. UVa-Wise, 344; 12. Coker, 345.