*This was originally published in The Inkwell and on its website.
The Armstrong cross country team captured a third-place finish in its first meet of the 2013 season, at the Georgia College Bobcat Cross Country Invitational.
As a team, the Pirates finished with 61 points in the six-team field to finish third. Host Georgia College (29 points) captured the team title, with Dalton State (58) finishing second. Young Harris (77) finished fourth, followed by South Georgia (151) and Gordon State (162).
“I’m pleased with their effort,” said head coach Michael Sergi. “Training is going well, but we have a lot to work on.”
Leading the Pirates was freshman Pablo Salcedo Castro. The freshman from Malaga, Spain, won the individual title by running the 8K course in 29:09.8. Castro beat runner-up Paul Patterson of Dalton State by 14 seconds.
“The race was my first outside of Spain, so I did not know anything about the people that I raced against,” Castro said. “I let Patterson do the pace of the race and the last mile I outdistanced myself from him.”
Armstrong’s strong freshman class was also led by Alex Martinez and Christian Davis. Martinez finished seventh with a time of 29:54.5 and Davis finished 12th after running in 30:25.5. Junior Varun Gopinath finished right behind Davis with a time of 30:25.9. Senior Matus Mydla placed 35th with a time of 34:43.6 and sophomore Arisa Spill finished 45th after running 45:01.1.
“We’re a young group and we will get better,” Sergi said.
The Pirates will race again on Sept. 21 at the Columbia International University Invitational in Columbia, S.C.