By ANDY LEONARD
Despite the imperfect conditions, the University of Mary Washington men’s and women’s cross country teams were able to slip and skid their way through the falling snow to take second place in the Captal Athletic Conference Championships in York, PA last Saturday.
“We raced our conference race through a blizzard—we literally ran while it was snowing, trudging through about 2-4 inches of snow,” senior Dawn Rainbolt said. “This semester has been one for crazy weather. It started off with an earthquake, then a hurricane. We’ve run through lightning storms, tornado warnings, and mud—lots and lots of mud. So why not a little snow too?”
At the beginning of the season, Head Coach Stan Stoper believed the success of the women’s team would be reliant upon strong running from his incoming freshmen. However, when it came time for the CAC Championships, Stoper noted that, “it was several of the veteran racers who had big runs for the Eagles.”
Sophomore Liz Green finished first overall on the women’s side with a time of 25:57. Freshman Hannah Somers came in seventh at 26:50, followed shortly thereafter by fellow freshman Jennifer Moore at the 27:04 mark to take 11th place. Junior Ashley Hess crossed the finish line in 17th place with a time of 27:25, while seniors Michaela Sands and Dawn Rainbolt and sophomore Erin Dandridge finished 21st through 23rd with times of 27:31, 27:38, and 27:43 respectively. The Lady Eagles received 57 points in the meet, edging out York College for second place and finishing just nine points behind CAC champion Salisbury University.
Stoper had higher expectations for the veteran-laden men’s team going into the season, which made taking second place bittersweet for him.
“They had a really good year,” Soper said. “I told them [after the race], and still believe we have the best team in the conference. We were outperformed at their home course. They ran exceptionally well. We ran pretty good.”
Sophomore Daniel Ache placed fifth overall for the men with a time of 29:05. Junior Sean Healy and seniors Stephen Harrison and Kyle Anderson also had top-10 finishes, with Healy finishing eighth at 29:25, Harrison taking ninth at 29:35, and Anderson placing 10th at 29:54. Senior Chris Marino, freshman Julian Menk and senior Blake Turner rounded out the Eagles’ runners, finishing 14th, 15th and 20th respectively. The men’s side finished with 46 points, 20 points behind York College for first place.
The Eagles will hope to have better running conditions in two weeks, when both the men’s and women’s teams compete in the NCAA Regional Championships in Seguin, Texas on Nov. 12.
“I’d really like to end the season with the teams having a race their capable of,” Soper said. “It would be nice to have the team rewarded with a good race for all their hard work.”