by Benny Benton
MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – A top-10 run by freshman Hailey Russell in her collegiate debut helped the Barton women's cross country team to a third-place finish among four teams on Friday at the Mount Olive Twilight, hosted by University of Mount Olive.
Russell, a resident of Jacksonville, N.C., recorded a mark of 25:18.5 on the 6K course to finish ninth in the field of 31. Her result helped Barton register 78 points, 30 points ahead of fourth-place Chowan University's 108.
Nationally-ranked No. 22 UMO captured seven of the eight spots ahead of Russell to easily take first place with 18 points. Regionally-ranked No. 9 UNC Pembroke came in second place with 49 points.
In addition to Russell, the Lady Bulldogs also received a solid debut from another freshman, Morgan Lane. The Elm City, N.C., resident posted a mark of 26:16.0 to finish 16th, two spots ahead of junior teammate Meghan Araldi (27:14.4).
Providing the final counting scores were freshman Taylynn Blunt, who came in 24th (32:13.3), and redshirt junior Courtney Ricks, who followed in 25th (32:40.4). Freshman Danyetta Ruffin rounded out the lineup, placing 30th in her Barton debut with a mark of 38:07.8.
Barton will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Monarch XC Classic, hosted by Methodist University in Fayetteville.