Willett wins Montevallo Early Bird

Willett wins Montevallo Early Bird

MONTEVALLO, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern men's and women's cross country teams opened the 2012 season on Friday at the Montevallo Early Bird, with senior Robert Willett finishing first in the men's 5K.

Both Panther teams placed second in the team standings.

Willett ran a time of 16:21.16 to finish atop the field of 28 runners. Junior Trent Blumenthal was second for the Panthers and fifth overall with a time of 17:00.64, followed by freshman Scott Wheat at sixth with a time of 17:01.11. Sophomore Scotty Wild was ninth, running the course in 17:32.11.

For the women, senior Jessica Thornton was the Panthers' top finisher with a 5K time of 20:29.69. She placed sixth overall, followed by freshman Kelsey Holdbrooks at seventh with a time of 20:48.75, freshman Katie Ann Bass at eighth with a time of 21:49.41, and sophomore Victoria Ports at ninth with a time of 22:21.91.

"It was a nice way to open the season," Head Coach Kenneth Cox said. "Our men and women got off to a positive start and are coming along well as we continue to prepare for a competitive year."

The teams are back in action next weekend at the Auburn Invitational in Auburn, Ala.