COLUMBIA, SC (September 2, 2022) – The Claflin University men’s and women’s cross-country teams will be looking for a fast start to the 2022 season when the teams take the course at the 2022 Carolina Challenge. With a strong mix of returnees and a talented group of newcomers, the expectations are high for the Lady Panthers and Panthers who will take the course this season.

There will be a bit of a youth movement for the Panthers cross country team this fall with four freshmen on the team. The cupboard isn’t bare for the Panthers with senior Caleb Patterson leading the way. Last season, Patterson led the Panthers, including recording a season-best 29:26.7 at the Royals XC Challenge. The Panthers will look to its four freshmen along with sophomore Zion Murry to accompany Patterson in their search for a great season.

The Lady Panthers will feature a more experienced team that will also look for some big things this fall. It will be sophomore sensation Madison McDonald who will lead the way for the Lady Panthers. Last season, McDonald led the Lady Panthers in each match of the season while she also finished the season by earning a spot on the 2021 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) All-Conference Team. She finished the race in sixth place with a 21:13.2.  Senior Nytajah Smalls also returns to give the Lady Panthers some experience guidance. Last season, she finished 33rd at the 2021 CIAA Women’s Cross-Country Championship Meet. Fellow senior Daje Bartley will also return to lead the way for the team as well.

The Lady Panthers and Panthers are set for a 9:00 a.m. start at the Carolina Challenge at the Springdale Race Course in Camden, South Carolina. The women’s 5K will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a 9:45 a.m. start for the men’s 5K.

For more information on Lady Panthers and Panthers cross country, contact the Claflin University Office of Athletics Media Relations at (803) 535-5548 or log on to