Cross Country visits LSU


Both the men’s and women’s teams placed third overall at the LSU Invitational. 
The Lion’s Roar / Heather Jewell

Among the hills of Highland Park at the Louisiana State University Invitational, both the men and women cross country teams finished third. LSU’s own men finished in first place with 18 points, while the Lions were just five points shy of making second place and landed behind the University of New Orleans team with 69 points.

“I was expecting roughly what we got; I was expecting the men’s side to perform a little better, last year we were second place and were looking to do the same,” said cross country coach Brandon Chapoton. “On the women’s side, it was definitely a pleasant surprise; they came out and competed well overall.”

Leading the Lions was senior distance runner Harry Wiggins, who placed third overall in the men’s 5K, which is 3.1 miles long, with a time of 14.41.35.

Junior distance runner Stephen Cassingham finished in 15th place with a time of 16.41.77, resetting his own personal record. 

“On the men’s side, I was really impressed with Stephen, he came out and ran a huge P.R.,” said Chapoton.

Also making the top 20 was freshman distance runner Salvator Grizzaffi with a time of 16.55.32.

On the women’s side, the Lady Lions landed behind Southern Miss and LSU, with 93 points. Setting the pace for the Lady Lions was sophomore distance runner Clarissa Smith, with a time of 19.43.68 in the Women’s 5K. Following Smith was sophomore distance runner Haley Gregoire with a time of 19.50.94.

“Little Amber Ferguson, our freshman runner, ran really well today, definitely a big change from the last few weeks of training, ” said Chapoton.

This was the third meet of their season and the Lions and Lady Lions will race again on October 3 in Lake Charles, at the McNeese Cowboy Stampede.

According to Chapoton, it was a difficult race for both teams due to the hills, as they are nonexistent in Hammond and there is no real training stimulus that can be used to mimic hills during practices.

“We train at 6:00 a.m. every morning and have done one hill session with the parking garages,” said Chapoton. “To make up for it we do faster workouts.”

Chapoton also believes the teams will fare better on McNeese’s flat course and the rest of the season.

“That course is totally flat and will be a better showing of what the groups can do,” said Chapoton. “We are young and looking poised to be better than last year as a team.”