Last Saturday, the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in Dickenson College’s Long-Short Invitational. The Men’s side took fifth place and the women’s group placed 10th in a cross country meet that was unlike most.
Traditionally in cross country meets, there is only one race that the masses compete in, but in the Long-Short Invitational, the event was split into two races. The men and women both ran a 4K, while the men’s second race was an 8K and women’s other event was a 6K.
The course wasn’t in the best of conditions, as UMW sophomore Erin Dandridge described it as “nasty,” and filled with mud and lots of rocks.
There seemed to be more competition at Dickenson than at their first meet that each of the Eagles teams faced two weeks ago at James Madison University. Top ranked schools like Carnegie Mellon and John Hopkins participated in the Long-Short Invitational, proving to be a better test for both UMW teams. The men’s team was only three points away from third place, which was taken by John Hopkins.
Junior Sean Healy was the Eagles top finisher for the men’s 8K with 27:55 time. Not far behind were seniors Chris Marino and Kyle Anderson, who finished with times of 28:13 and 28:18 respectively. Senior Stephen Harrison finished first for Mary Washington in the men’s 4K with 13:00 time. Sophomore Daniel Ache was the next highest Eagles finisher at 13:27, and freshman Julian Menk came in just behind Ache at 13:29.
In the women’s 6K, sophomore Elizabeth Green finished first for UMW at 25:31. Sophomore Erin Dandridge finished at 26:05 and freshman Tara Landy ended with 26:40 time. Senior Dawn Rainbolt finished first for the Eagles with 17:04 time in the 4K, and senior Michaela Sands (17:21) and Ashley Hess (17:38) weren’t far behind.
According to the womens team, they were more strung out than usual. The weather conditions were also not ideal to running. It was also their first competitive 6K of the season, and a new distance is always a challenge. They’re hopeful for this coming Friday when they compete at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University starting at 10 a.m.
Though UMW had a respectable showing, they are by no means content at where they are.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Dandridge said.
Senior Stephen Harrison says the men aren’t so much hopeful for Friday as they are pumped. The competition should be high and it’s the men’s first real chance to show how hard they have been working. They want to take the leadership role back for Mary Washington and they’re confident they will do it.
Harrison quotes teammate Kyle Anderson, “We’re going to turn heads.”
Coming back from last year, which was somewhat of a rebuilding season for the Eagles cross country teams, both the men and women have come out strong. The men understand that it is a team effort, as Harrison says that everybody is on the same page when it comes to teamwork and knows that’s what will take them to the end.