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WILMORE, Ky. - It was a starting point. Not the finish line.
That's the mindset the Indiana University East cross country teams say they must take away from the Asbury-Jessamine Special on Sept. 2.
The Red Wolves started the season by finishing sixth of seven in the 5K women's meet and fifth of seven in the 5K men's meet.
IU East had hoped to finish in the upper half of both races.
"It's a good start, but we have a lot of improvements to make if we want to reach the goals we've set for ourselves," said sophomore Justin Taylor (Waynesville, Ohio/Waynesville High School).
Freshman Carlie Rider (Eaton, Ohio/Eaton High School) finished sixth in the women's race to highlight the Red Wolves' efforts.
Junior Kelsey West (Cambridge City, Ind./Lincoln High School) finished 19th in the women's race in 25:09.
Sophomore Justin Taylor (Waynesville, Ohio/Wilmington College) led IU East's men, finishing 15th in 18:25.
Freshman Patrick Smith (Fountain City, Ind./Northeastern High School) was 23rd in 19:01.
The top 25 finishers in each race received medals.
IU East finished one point out of fifth place in the women's race and four points out of fourth place in the men's race.
The Red Wolves were without two runners on the women's side. One of them likely would have finished in IU East's top five.
Toasty afternoon conditions in central Kentucky slowed the Red Wolves' times. West said it was the hottest race day she could remember in her three seasons in the IU East program.
The runners also dealt with an pair of uphill climbs in the first 1000 meters and a downhill finish.
"We did well for being such a new team and it being so hot," West said.
Other finishers for IU East's women:
Freshman Jasmine Frasher (Connersville, Ind./Connersville High School) finished 31st in 26:49.
Redshirt junior Vanessa Legg (Lynn, Ind./Randolph Southern High School) was 37th in 28:19.
Redshirt freshman Shawna Smith (Lynn, Ind./Indiana University) was 43rd in 29:16.
Freshman Danielle Acton (Lynn, Ind./Randolph Southern High School) was 53rd in 32:19.
Other finishers for IU East's men:
Redshirt freshman Brandon Arnett (Lynn, Ind./Indiana University) finished 26th in 19:11.
Freshman Aaron Myers (Lynn, Ind./Randolph Southern High School) finished 35th in 19:56.
Redshirt junior Tim Lowman (Eaton, Ohio/Miami University) finished 48th in 21:22.
Sophomore Jordan Kearney (Centerville, Ind./Centerville High School) finished 58th in 24:44.
Freshman Josh Allen (Lynn, Ind./Randolph Southern High School) finished 59th in 26:29.
Transylvania won the women's team title. Berea took first in the men's race.
Georgetown's Elisha Overpeck won the women's race in 20:12.
Berea's Austin Houchens won the men's race in 16:31.
IU East will return to Asbury for the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet on Nov. 6.
"We were here to see where we are, and we have a lot of work in front of us," said IU East coach Pam Mertz. "Next time we're here I hope we can bring a much faster team."
IU East will host Cincinnati Christian University at 5 p.m. on Sept. 7 at the IU East Cross Country Course.
It will be the first on-campus NAIA intercollegiate athletics event in IU East history.
Click here to view photos from the first week of the IU East cross country season.