Darlington County residents take their places on FMU’s cross-country teams

The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s cross-country teams opened their 2020 seasons Oct. 2 in a dual meet against UNC Pembroke. The abbreviated 2020 season for the Patriots will consist of three regular-season meets and the Peach Belt Conference Championship Meet, to be hosted Nov. 14 by the University of North Georgia at its Gainesville campus. Friday’s event was the first contest for the Patriot athletic program since the pandemic halted spring sports March 13. Newcomers on the Patriots’ women’s team include Darlington County residents Gabby Robinson (Darlington) and Ina Marie Sullivan (Hartsville). “It has been a unique pre-season,” said Coach Mark Bluman. “Certainly a wake-up call to the freshmen that their prep career is over and they can’t get by on talent alone at the college level. Work ethic and the commitment to putting in miles during the summer is what separates college runners. “The uncertainty of the fall schedule may have affected personal training at the end of the summer, but they needed to remain strong mentally. That uncertainty also cost us some depth on both squads as some runners decided not to run this fall and others delayed their enrollment to FMU by a semester. “We are approaching this season with an effort to make it as normal as possible. Members of the men’s squad did a good job of bonding over the summer and holding themselves accountable for training before arriving on campus. “In addition, all of our runners have done a good job making the adjustments to differing educational approaches (on-line and in-person). With our squads being the only fall sports allowed to compete, if we do this well and succeed in the shadow of the COVID virus, we will be well remembered.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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