Given the talent level Milligan coach Chris Layne has at his disposal this season, there is a clear endgame, and that is to have both the men’s and women’s teams in peak condition by the time the NAIA National Meet rolls around in November.
That being said, the Bulldog Stampede, which was held in Wingate, North Carolina, last Saturday, gave the clearest indication yet of just how good the program is at this early juncture.
“On both sides, this was about a race rep in an uncomfortable environment, and I think that pays off later in the year,” Layne said.
Hannah Segrave ran in competition for the first time this fall and won the women’s 6k with a time of 22:25.33. It was an excellent starting point for the senior, who figures to be highly competitive on a national level.
“I felt good, but I’m not where I need to be yet,” Segrave said. “Today was more of a rep than anything, but I’ll take the time and go on from here.”
JJ Robinson also had an outstanding meet for Milligan’s women, recording a time of 23:02.22 to land in the top five.
The men flexed their muscle by winning the 8k event thanks in large part to a 1-2 finish by Brandon Ellis and Taylor Tafelsky. Ellis won with a time of 26:41.69 while Tafelsky came home in 27:04.82.
Mitch Bronstetter added a fourth-place finish while Sam Wehner and Carson Kirby both landed inside the top 10.
Next up for the Buffs is a trip to the NAIA Preview race, which will be run in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the same course that the national meet will be contested on. After that comes the Sandshark Invitational in South Carolina, which traditionally offers Layne a good measuring stick of where his runners at heading into the Appalachian Athletic Conference meet.
— — —
The men’s soccer team picked up its first AAC win of the season in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night in Bluefield, Virginia.
The Buffs got a goal from Jack Allan to tie the game at 1 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation before a goal by Jesse Ramova gave Milligan a 2-1 win over Bluefield in overtime. The Buffs are now 2-0 this season in overtime games. Milligan’s men will look to maintain their momentum on Saturday in a match at Point University.
— — —
Milligan’s women have won five soccer matches this season, and four of those wins have been shutouts.
That is a testament to goalkeeper Charlotte Stephens, who had four saves in Milligan’s 5-0 victory over Bluefield on Wednesday, but it’s also a credit to Milligan’s defense, which is led by Sami Joy.
Bekah Cundiff has been a big-time scoring threat this season, and she notched two more goals on Wednesday to up her team-leading total to seven.
— — —
Michaela Matheson, Megan Gaylor and Cassidy Gibson all played key roles as the women’s golf team finished third in the Pioneer Classic, which was hosted by Tusculum College earlier this week. All three golfers finished in the top 15 individually.
Depth has been the strength for Milligan’s women, who are ranked 14th nationally heading into the final event of the fall. The Buffs will compete in the AAC Fall Championship in LaGrange, Georgia, on Oct. 10.
Meanwhile, the Milligan men were led in the Pioneer Classic by Josh Gambrell. The senior narrowly missed out on tying Blake Howard for the lowest round in school history on the first day of the event, settling for a 66.
Gambrell finished fourth individually, matching Milligan’s fourth-place finish as a team. The men will also wrap up the fall portion of their schedule at the AAC Fall Championship on Oct. 3 in Pine Mountain, Kentucky.