The University of Mary Washington men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the 2010 Capital Athletic Conference championships this past Saturday in Salisbury, Md. Mary Washington took a second place finish for both teams.
On the women’s side, Salisbury captured its third straight CAC title with the Sea Gulls finishing in five of the top 10 championship meet spots.
York College’s Mandy Parshall, the 2010 CAC Women’s Runner of the Year, took the individual conference title in the 6,000-meter course with a time of 22:35 while Marymount University’s Jessica Daley, the 2010 CAC Women’s Rookie of the Year, finished second at 22:43.
For Mary Washington, freshman Elizabeth Green was the Eagles’ top finisher, coming in fifth overall at 22:56. Senior Madalyn Crowell was UMW’s next finisher with a time of 23:26 and overall 10th place finish.
Senior Sarah Dawes came in 11th in the race at 23:38, and Senior Kristy Witek finished 15th at 23:53 to round out the Eagles’ top four. All four were named to the All-CAC squad.
“Having four runners make all-Conference is a great honor and it really proves how much depth our team has,” Dawes said. “Of course we were disappointed not to have come out of the meet with the win, but when everyone puts forth their best effort you really can’t complain.”
For the men’s 8000-meter course, Salisbury took the CAC title with 21 points and the overall top four finishers. Freshman Ryan Jackson, the 2010 CAC Men’s Rookie of the Year, finished first in the meet at 25:19 while senior Chris Barnard, the 2010 CAC Men’s Runner of the Year, came in second at a time of 25:30.
Junior Chris Marino was UMW’s top finisher coming in sixth overall at 25:59 followed closely by sophomore teammate Scott Plunkett who came in seventh at 26:10.
Rounding out the Eagles’ top four finishes on the men’s side include junior Stephen Harrison’s 10th place finish at 26:26 and junior Kyle Anderson’s 12th place finish at 26:30. All four men had all-conference finishes.
“Our team as a whole improved since the beginning of the year but we weren’t strong enough to beat Salisbury,” Marino said. “I know this will only give our team more determination for the future. We will work even harder so that we can match up well against Salisbury next year.”
According to Head Coach Stan Soper, the meet went as expected but not necessarily as hoped.
“Basically going into the meet everyone expected us to finish second so we did finish where expected,” Soper said. “Personally I was hoping we would be closer to Salisbury and challenge them more, but you have to give credit where credit’s deserved. Salisbury had a fantastic day while we had a solid day.”
Looking back at the conference meet and season as a whole, Soper still thinks both teams respectively have not raced to their potentials as teams.
“That’s what I’m looking for,” Soper said. “If we did that, our showing would be really good.”
Both the men and the women will be back in action Saturday at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional Championships in Memphis, Tenn.
The top two teams will advance automatically to NCAA Championships in Iowa while the top 7 individual racers will advance. UMW has not had a team advance in about 20 years but has had individuals advance in approximately 20 of 26 years, Soper said.
image courtesy of Clint Often