Wallace State cross country teams each win ACCC championship; Tanner King named Runner of the Year

By: ,

Hamza Abussamour shares a hug with a pair of teammates after finishing the ACCC meet. Abussamour finished fourth overall.

HANCEVILLE – Wallace State’s cross county teams are Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) champions.

Wallace State’s men had the top four finishers and five of the top eight, and the Lady Lions had six runners finish in the top eight at the conference meet over the weekend.

Competing in their second ACCC meets since the program was reestablished last season, both Wallace State programs shined on their home course.

It’s the sixth cross country conference championship all-time for the men’s program and third for the women.

“This is a great group of runners. They’re great people and get along better than most groups I’ve had, especially considering everyone is so unique and different. We’ve had leadership on both teams from the runners in the front, middle and back, and we had to have that again in this meet. We’ve demanded leadership from every runner,” said long-time Wallace State coach Stan Narewski. “I’m extremely proud of both groups and appreciate the work (assistant coach) Tony Crider puts in. He does a tremendous job. Our runners respect and love him. We have a great situation.”

Wallace State’s Tanner King was named the ACCC Runner of the Year after prevailing as the top individual in the ACCC meet. King, a freshman from Northside, finished the 8K with a 26:24.

“It’s a great feeling for us to win this championship. When I first got here, it took me a while to get adjusted (to the college game). All of the training and our amazing coaches helped me tremendously,” King said. “This means a lot. We had a feeling we could sweep this race and we came close. We were confident coming in and it showed.”

As has been the story this season, Eli Wilhite was right on King’s heels. Both have shared the top finishes for Wallace State in 2018.

Wilhite placed runner-up with a 26:35.

“This feels awesome. I went out there and just did my job. Of course, all runners want the individual title, but I’m thrilled to see Tanner up there. We’ve trained all season in preparation for this meet, and we’re conference champs,” Wilhite said.

Sophomore Victor Bravo finished third overall with a 27:19 for Wallace State and Hamza Abusammour came in fourth with a 27:28, giving the Lions the top four finishers.

Freshman Alex Leary finished sixth with a 27:52 for the Lions.  

Wallace State’s Jacob Guthrie (29:28) placed 10th overall, Drake Patton (29:31) was 11th and Brennan Wink (29:32) finished 12th. Lindsay Kolter rounded out the field for the Lions.

In the women’s meet, Wallace State freshman Jacqueline Serrano finished individual runner-up, earning a 19:53 in the 5K. She was three seconds shy of matching Marion Military Institute’s Savannah Olyniec for the individual championship.

“We challenged Jackie today and she was right there at the end. She was definitely determined the entire time,” Narewski said.

Serrano is a J.B. Pennington graduate. 

“It’s very exciting to be in this position. Our team is unique in many ways, and we complement each other well,” Serrano said.  

Wallace State’s Tatiana Padgett finished third overall with a 20:24 and Marlena Morales was fourth with a 21:16.  

“Tatiana Padgett is probably our most improved runner since this summer. She continues to get better and better,” Narewski said.  

Also for the Lady Lions, Makala Worrell came in sixth overall, finishing with a 21:59, Alexandra Holt (22:34) was seventh and Taylor Barkley (22:36) placed eighth.

Miriam Smith, Alex McDonald and Kelsey Borden rounded out the Wallace State field.  

As was the case with the ACCC meet, Serrano and Padgett have had the women’s best finishes for Wallace State.  

Wallace State hosted the conference meet for the second straight season.

“Every runner has been invested and involved all season, and that’s what you ask for as a coach. It’s a great time to be a part of the program. We’re going to continue to build it up,” Narewski said.

Wallace State now gears up for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Championship on Nov. 10 at Garden City, Kansas.

For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit www.athletics.wallacestate.edu or the athletics Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Wallace-State-Community-College-Athletics-238544719506181/