Maryville College's Daniel Beckett placed second individually in Friday night's Maryville College Invitational, as the senior led the Scots to a third-place finish as a team.
Beckett completed the MC course in stride with a host of Cleveland State Community College runners. The senior ran the race in 27:40.43 for his individual honor.
"Wanted to go out tough today," Beckett said. "We've had a lot of competition with Covenant. We've been watching their times, and we've raced against them once. I really wanted to after some of their top guys, because they've been putting up some insane times already this season. I knew the heat was going to be tough, but we just wanted to grit it out. Going with that pack of Cleveland State guys on the second and third lap really help me to turn off the clock and not worry about time at all. We were just racing for the competition."
Beckett finished amongst Erik Martinez, Derek Gallardo and Diego Guzman to round out the top four. The senior and the trio of Cleveland State runners finished within 36 seconds of each other.
Ryan Lay ranked as the Scots' next finisher, as the senior ranked 23rd with a time of 32:20.04.
MC's course is known for its toughness, while the Orange and Garnet faced record heat for this time of year.
"This course is really tough, but it's something we've been practicing on for the past four years," Lay said. "It's very natural running on it. We know all the roots and hills, so we know where to push and where to scale back. To me, it's one of the truest cross-country courses out there, because it's all trails and grass.
"The next couple races are on flatter surfaces, so I'm hoping to knock down a couple PRs," Lay said.
Cleveland State Community College won the team race with six runners in the top 15. Covenant College was second with six runners in the top 10, while the Scots ranked third.
Walters State and Warren Wilson rounded out the top five.
Richard Martin finished the course in 33:55.24, while Cooper Harrison ran a 35:00.74. Parker Owen had a time of 37:13.14, while Matthew Finstad (41:16.75) and Lee Parker (42.58.75) rounded out the Scots' scoring.
"This really prepares us for next week," Beckett said. "We're running on a course that, honestly, we can drop a minute or more off our time just because of how flat it is and how competitive it will be. This really sets us up nice for the rest of the season. The rest of the team looked strong today. It's tough out here in this heat when it's 95 degrees at start time. So, it's really nice to go out here and grit it out on this tough course."
The Scots will travel to Louisville, Ky. for the Greater Louisville Classic. The race is slated for Saturday, Oct. 5.