By MIKEY BARNES
They can be seen walking in packs together around campus, running around Fredericksburg, in clumps at Seacobeck for dinner or walking from the gym after workouts. The men’s and women’s cross country teams at the University of Mary Washington are known both for their long distance running and their total love for it.
Throughout the season, the team participates in six events, culminating in the Capital Athletic Conference meet in November.
“Our support is incredible, and it just makes us that much more determined,” sophomore Victoria Parent said. “We are doing this because we know we are good enough. The girls on this team have the potential to win the conference.”
This past weekend, the teams competed at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Out of the 22 teams that competed in the White Division of the Invitational, the injury-ridden men’s team finished 10th, led by sophomore Ben Sorenson, who placed 12th overall. Not far behind Sorenson was senior Chris Anderson and junior Jamie Van Emmerik. Injuries to the men’s side left three of the team’s top six runners out of the race, leaving many questions in the air as to how far a healthy men’s team can go.
The well supported and strong women’s team finished in a phenomenal second place, led by sophomore Teagan Young, who placed second overall in the White Division. Senior Lauren Braney placed 11th overall, and not far behind her was senior Trinity Smith and sophomore Victoria Parent, who placed 29th and 30th, respectively.
“The only team we lost to was Division II California University, and it was only by a mere 5 points,” junior Sam Park said. “It shows that we are ready for bigger meets, including not just conferences, but as well as regionals. It was even more awesome to see our top runner finish second place overall.”
The two teams will compete again on Oct. 18 at the Connecticut College Invitational, where the men’s team will look to improve their performance and the women’s team will aim to continue their success.
The Connecticut College Invitational is the final regular season meet for both teams before they compete in the CAC Championship on Nov. 1 at the Rappahannock Academy in Caroline County, Virginia.
“Cross Country isn’t about your first or second runners who do well. It’s about third to seventh pack of girls. Our first runner is phenomenal, but even outside of her, they’re doing really well and hopefully can continue to do so,” Parent said.