Freshman Walter Ramsey (FR/Marietta, Ga.) grabs the individual crown on the men's side in his first collegiate race.
The Loyola University New Orleans cross country embarked on City Park on Friday evening to kick off the 2017 season at the Xavier Big Easy Opener hosted by cross-town rival Xavier University (La.).
Friday's field was both a competitive and familiar one for the Wolf Pack as head coach Nick Dodson's squad would square off against fellow Crescent City program's Dillard University and host Xavier.
Despite stiff competition, both Loyola teams managed to leave City Park with team titles as well as an individual crown on the men's side.
The Wolf Pack absolutely dominated in the women's race – grabbing five of the top seven spots in the event led by Sasha Solano-McDaniel (FR/Fresno, Ca.)'s second place finish (13:18.50). Tristin Sanders (SO/Henderson, NV) crossed the line 14:01.06 to take fourth while Rachel Barnack (FR/Indianapolis, Ind.) was not far behind at 14:11.61. Helena Lauchli (FR/Longmont, Co.) (6th, 14:18.14) and Rachel Goldkamp (FR/Defiance, Mo.) (7th, 14:25.39) were the final top-10 finishers for the Wolf Pack while Kendal Lane rounded out the group with an 11-place finish in 15:32.45.
Xavier's Taylor Price was the individual winner on Friday, finishing the course in a blazing 12:51.42 to leave City Park with the title.
Loyola – 24 Points
Xavier – 40 Points
Dillard – 61 Points
The story for the men's team on Friday was the performance of newcomer Walter Ramsey. Making his first appearance in a collegiate race, Ramsey managed to hold off teammate Brian Davis (JR/New Orleans, La.) down the final stretch to take the individual title in a staggering 16:52.79. Davis crossed the line in 16:55.39 to grab second while Liam Donovan (FR/Kirkwood, Mo.) (4th, 18:25.21) Hayden Ricca (FR/New Orleans, La.) (5th, 18:31.47), Daniel Welch (FR/St. Louis, Mo.) (6th, 18:44.48) and Hank Hendrix (SO/Louisville, Ky.) (8th, 19:35.13) each finished inside the top eight on Friday. Newcomer Gustavo Mena Pacheco tallied an 11th-place finish in 19:56.46 and Hernan Espinal (JR/Baton Rouge, La.) rounded out the squad by placing 17th in 23:25.77.
Loyola – 18 Points
Dillard – 58 Points
Xavier – 59
Both Wolf Pack teams will return to action next Saturday, Sep. 9, as Loyola hosts its annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Cross Country Festival at Lafreniere Park.