By ABIGALE BAILEY
University of Mary Washington’s cross country team competed this weekend at the 2017 Capital Athletic Conference Championship. The women’s team finished in third place, giving them a spot on the podium, while the men’s team finished fourth. The event was hosted by Christopher Newport University in Newport News on Saturday morning. The championship included teams from, Frostburg State, St. Mary’s, Marymount and Penn State.
The women’s team finished with 65 points next to first place, York with 51 points and in second place, Salisbury with 60 points. Junior nursing major Jillian Weisbeck, led the women’s team on Saturday and finished fourth place in the meet with a time of 23:20.
Prior to the meet, Weisbeck said, “This year we have a lot of talented and hardworking girls on the team, which I think will help us be one of the top two teams at conferences… It has been exciting to watch us all grow throughout the season and CACs is our chance to show everyone what we can do.”
The men’s team finished with 88 points behind Christopher Newport with 27 points, York with 58 points, and Salisbury with 83 points. The men’s team was led by Jeff Gibson, who finished fifth with a time of 25:16.
Both teams started out this season strong with second place finishes for both teams at the Mary Washington Opener on Sept. 1 and third place finishes at the Stevenson Invitational on Sept. 8. At the Shenandoah Invitational on Sept. 23, the women’s team finished sixth and the men’s team finished tenth. Both teams also finished thirteenth at the Oberlin Invitational on Oct. 14.
Senior English major Marin Bader said, “I’m really excited to see what we can do this weekend… We’ve got a young team with a lot of talent and everyone has come a really long way this season and improved tremendously.”
Kevin Jones, senior accounting major and men’s team captain, took eighteenth place with a time of 26:10. After Saturday’s meet, Jones was disappointed that the men’s team missed the podium by so few points, saying “I think we are optimistically disappointed in the outcome of Coastal Athletic Conference’s yesterday… When you look at the score sheet and see you missed that podium spot by 5 points, the first fifteen minutes after are really hard to think about… You ask what you could’ve done, or where you could’ve made a move to make it different.”
Despite the outcome of the meet, Jones is happy that the team gave it their all, “once that time is over, you look at your teammates and you are really proud of the performances everyone gave… We all know what we can improve on seeing as regionals are at the same course, we know where those moves we wish we made are and we’re ready to make something happen in a couple weeks at regionals,” said Jones.
Women’s team captain, junior Emily Knerr in fifteenth place said, “Our team did better than expected and we all had great races… My goals for the rest of the season are to do even better at regionals, since we will be running at the same course, I hope we all get even faster times because we will be more familiar with the course, and I hope we surprise some people by doing even better at regionals.”
While the outcome of the CAC meet was a joyous surprise for the women’s cross country team and a letdown for the men’s team, both have a chance at redemption at the NCAA Regional Meet on Nov. 11 on the same course at CNU.