Wallace State’s cross country teams host the ACCC meet on Saturday.
HANCEVILLE – Wallace State’s cross country teams have approached the postseason. Both teams host the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) meet on Saturday with a conference championship in mind.
The men’s meet begins on campus in front of the School of Nursing and Center for Science building at 11 a.m., and the women’s meet follows with an 11:45 a.m. start.
After the Wallace State programs were reestablished last season, both teams finished conference runner-up to Marion Military Institute.
Wallace State’s teams have taken an extra step forward this season in meets, competing and holding their own against four-year colleges. They’ll host Marion Military Institute and Lawson State on Saturday.
“Our team has been training hard, and we’re looking forward to this meet. Every runner has come to practice with a smile on their face and a great attitude, and they’re determined to defend our home course. We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Wallace State coach Stan Narewski. “Every person on this team has a role to play. They have to pick each other up in meets like these. Our first finisher is as important as the last. They each have a job to do.”
Wallace State’s men’s team has been led this season by the freshman duo of Eli Wilhite and Tanner King.
Wilhite, an All-State runner out of Cullman High, has recorded Wallace State’s best finish in four meets this season, including finishing fourth overall at the Sewanee Invitational on Sept. 29.
“We’ve had a great time this season and do our best to motivate and push each other. We have a lot of talent on this team. We’re glad to be at home, and we’re not satisfied with just hosting. We want to win,” Wilhite said.
King had Wallace State’s best finish in the 8K at Berry College on Oct. 13 and has finished right behind Wilhite in three other meets.
King was part of state championship teams at Northside High School.
“We definitely feed off each other. It’s a true team, which sometimes you don’t see in cross country. We’re trying to lay the foundation for a great future. We want other schools to see Wallace State get off the bus and know they’re in for a challenge,” King said.
Sophomore Victor Bravo, who was an All-ACCC selection last season, has also been among Wallace State leading finishers.
On the women’s side, freshmen Tatiana Padgett and Jacqueline Serrano have each stood out for the Lady Lions.
Padgett, a Pinson Valley grad, has recorded Wallace State’s best finish in three meets, and Serrano has placed the best for the Lady Lions in two meets, including an 11th overall finish at Sewanee earlier this month. Serrano ran for J.B. Pennington in high school.
“Jacqueline Serrano has been a pleasant surprise for us. She’s been running No. 1 and continues to get better and better. Tatiana Padgett has been right there as well,” Narewski said.
Sophomores Taylor Barkley and Marlena Morales have provided additional experience for the women.
The NJCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships are Nov. 10 at Garden City, Kan.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit www.athletics.wallacestate.edu or the athletics Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Wallace-State-Community-College-Athletics-238544719506181.