MARION, Ind. – Sophomore Hunter Smith claimed first to lead an onslaught of Trojan finishers atop the standings, as a short-handed No. 15 Taylor men's cross country team showcased its tremendous depth with an impressive season-opening win at the Indiana Wesleyan Invite.
The Trojans rested multiple key contributors but had no trouble securing the team title with a time of 130:37 and a total of 26 points to top second-place and RV IWU's tally of 52 points. TU's meet victory was its second-straight title at the IWU Invite, clocking a time that was 1:50 faster than one year ago at the same event.
TU's took the top-two spots, three of the top-four and six of the top-12, while pulling away from the field. Smith scored his first collegiate win and led the charge with a first-place and personal-best time of 25:40.8.
Finishing nearly three seconds off that pace was freshman Josh Roth, who crossed in second place with a time of 25:43.6 in his first collegiate showing. Junior Ben Byrd also scored a top-five effort with a career-best fourth-place finish and a time of 26:13.8.
Senior Stephen Cho, freshman Andrew Runion and senior Jonathan Taylor followed in 10th, 11th and 12th with times of 26:25.3, 26:34.1 and 26:38.4, with Cho logging the second top-10 finish of his outstanding career.
Another freshman made his mark, with Daniel Gerber ending 17th with a time of 26:51.1 in his Taylor debut and senior Wes Noyes logged his best performance in a Taylor uniform with a 22nd-place finish and a time of 27:04.9.
No. 15 Taylor (8-0) will return to action on September 15 at the Crossroads League Preview in Carmel, Indiana.