SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Senior Joyce Kimeli made her return to cross country competition in grand fashion Friday afternoon, winning the women’s gold 5k race with a time of 17:05.5. It was the first action for Kimeli since claiming the silver medal in the 3000m steeplechase at NCAA Outdoors in June.
Out of 24 total teams, the Auburn women finished the gold 5k race in third place. For the men’s gold five mile, the Tigers finished eighth in a field of 21.
“The weather quickly turned this race into one of toughness and grit,” said Tigers head coach Aaron Kindt. “Overall, I am very pleased with the effort and fight both teams displayed.”
Following Kimeli’s victory, senior Presley Weems crossed the finish line in 18:11.4, a new personal best, to finish 32nd. Succeeding the veteran duo was junior Sara Pacer (18:19.7), freshman Hannah Thuss (18:25.1), sophomore Samantha Rogers (18:30.5), senior Louisa McPherson (20:09.2) and freshman Hallie Porterfield (23.33.9).
Pacer also set a new career low, beating her previous best 5k time by nearly 20 seconds.
“Obviously, it was nice to have Joyce back in the fold,” said Kindt. “It was a great meet for her to get back and work some kinks out. I thought Presley Weems and Sara Pacer also had really good races for us this afternoon.
“It was the best team performance for the women that we’ve had all year, and that showed with a top-five finish at such a big invitational.”
Nabbing ninth in his first career five-mile, sophomore Ryan Kinnane (24:49.6) led the men’s charge to an overall eighth place finish. On the heels of Kinnane was senior Tommy McDonough, locking down another top-10 individual finish for Auburn with a time of 24:50.8.
McDonough’s finish was 25 seconds faster than previous five-mile mark set on the same course two years prior.
The third Tiger to cross the finish line was senior Jackson Thomas (25:52.3), becoming the fourth Auburn runner to set a new personal best. Rounding out the men’s race was sophomore Carson Bedics (26:01.2), freshman Cooper Atkins (26:37.4), junior Evan Rogers (28:19.8) and freshman Benson Atkins (29:30.9).
“Very pleased with our men’s group so far this year,” said Kindt. “They took another step forward today. Ryan and Tommy ran excellent races, both finishing in the top 10, which was awesome. Jackson Thomas was also really steady and helped us put together a solid day.”
The men and women of Auburn cross country now turn their sights toward FSU Pre-Nationals as they will head back to Tallahassee, Fla. on Oct. 15 to compete in their final meet before SEC Championships.
2021 Joe Piane Invitational
Burke Golf Course
South Bend, Ind.
Women’s Results (5k)
3. Auburn, 178 points
Auburn Individual Results
1. Joyce Kimeli, 17:05.5
32. Presley Weems, 18:11.4
42. Sara Pacer, 18:19.7
50. Hannah Thuss, 18:25.1
53. Samantha Rogers, 18:30.5
146. Louisa McPherson, 20:10.2
162. Hallie Porterfield, 23:33.9
Men’s Results (5 miles)
8. Auburn, 222 points
Auburn Individual Results
9. Ryan Kinnane, 24:49.6
10. Tommy McDonough, 24:50.8
51. Jackson Thomas, 25:52.3
61. Carson Bedics, 26:01.2
91. Cooper Atkins, 26:37.4
132. Evan Rogers, 28:19.8
141. Benson Atkins, 29:30.9