By KELLY SCOTT
The University of Mary Washington men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the Greensboro College Invitational this past Saturday, with both teams finishing in first place among their Division III competition. The women started the action for the invitational at 1 p.m. when they left the starting line for their five kilometer race and the men began their eight kilometer race at 1:45 p.m. The heat was brutal and definitely a factor in the day.
“We were all exhausted at the finish line, but the training and team spirit carried us home,” freshman Elizabeth Green said.
Green was first through that finish line for the Eagles with a time of 20:01. She placed 9th overall, coming in about 58 seconds behind overall top finisher Danille Pye from Concord University. Green’s time of 20:01 beat her previous time from the McDaniel College Green Terror Invitational two weeks ago where she took fourth overall with a time of 20:39. Senior Sarah Dawes was UMW’s next finisher at Greensboro, coming in at 20:58, followed by senior Madalyn Crowell at 21:10. Rounding out the top five finishers for the Eagles were junior Michaela Sands and junior Dawn Rainbolt with times of 21:20 and 21:38 respectively. All top five runners dropped time from the Green Terror Invitational, including an impressive drop of over a minute by Rainbolt.
For the UMW men, sophomore Scott Plunkett was the Eagles top finisher in the 8k, finishing eighth with a time of 27:22 but a good ways back of race’s top overall finisher Piotr Dybas, a senior from VCU, who won with a time of 25:55. UMW juniors Chris Marino and Kyle Anderson took 10th and 15th overall with times of 27:37 and 28:03 respectively. Junior Blake Turner and freshman Eli Snead rounded out the Eagles’ top five on the men’s side coming in at 29:05 and 29:07.
From a scoring standpoint, both the men and women raced well, finishing first in the division. Overall, both teams came in third behind VCU and Concord University.
“We had good performances. We’re just not clicking on all cylinders yet,” head coach Stan Soper said. Soper added that the dusty course and extreme heat also played a factor, as the races took place mid-day during the hottest hours. Training for the invitational was tough this past week with the temperatures reaching as high as 94 and 95 degrees Farenheit during the early afternoon.
Mary Washington will be back in action next Saturday at Salisbury University at 9:45 a.m.
“We would like to do well, but our focus is on our main competition: Conference Championships in November,” Soper said.
However, with almost all schools in the conference attending the Salisbury meet, Coach Soper did say that it will be nice to get a fair comparison and see where the Eagles stand against their conference foes. Plunkett agreed with that statement from his coach.
“It will be interesting to see exactly how we stack up against [Salisbury] as a team, because right now it looks like they’ll be the team to beat at CAC’s,” Plunkett said.