CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Sixth-year Ryan Foster won the 2008 ACC Men’s Cross Country Individual Title to lead the Cavaliers to their second-consecutive team championship Saturday morning at Ranson-Hamrick Cross Country Course at the University of North Carolina. Foster’s first-place finish marks the first-ever individual championship for a Cavalier male, while the women finished tied for fourth.
“Everyone knew today’s championship would be hard won,” first-year head coach Jason Vigilante. “I am pleased that our team ran with character and poise, and was able to come away successful. Ryan Foster has been an ACC Champion before on the track and has also had many setbacks during his career; I’m so proud that he was able to capitalize on this opportunity today. He represented our university well. I also need to give a lot of credit to coach Hunt, our trainers Shelley Blakey and Beth Dalton for contributing so much to our great day today.”
Third-year Ryan Collins paced the Cavaliers throughout the early portion of the 8K race, leading the majority of the way before dropping back and being replaced up front by Foster. Foster’s finish of 24:27.7 led a pack of 16 runners across the line in a span of 30 seconds. Boston College’s Tim Ritchie finished in 24:30.0 battling Virginia Tech’s Devin Cornwall (24:30.8) and NC State’s Bobby Mack (24:30.9) for runner-up honors. State then crossed John Martinez to claim fifth before a slew of Cavaliers crossed.
Collins finished sixth in 24:36.1, winning a battle with Florida State’s Matt Leeder (24:36.5) and fourth-year Andy Biladeau, who crossed in 24:37.2 for eighth. Second-year Emil Heineking was Virginia’s fourth finisher, taking ninth in 24:38.2. Third-year Graham Tribble rounded out the scoring Cavaliers, finishing 16th in 24:55.8.
No. 14 Virginia won its third championship in four years and fourth overall with a total of 40 points, while No. 29 NC State trailed with 56. Virginia Tech claimed third with 75 points and No. 15 Florida State was fourth with 80 points. Foster, Collins, Biladeau and Heineking all earned All-ACC honors for their finish.
In the women’s 6K race, third-year Stephanie Garcia and fourth-year Lauretta Dezubay led the squad to a tie with No. 30 Duke for fourth place, en route to All-ACC honors. Led by individual champion Susan Kjiken, No. 3 Florida State dominated the women’s race, landing all five scoring runners in the top-10 to beat Boston College 27-106 for first-place. No. 24 Wake Forest finished third with 112 points, with Duke and Virginia earning 124 points. Virginia Tech’s Tasmin Fanning finished runner-up with Brie Felnagle from North Carolina taking third.
“The only thing I can say about our women is wow,” Vigilante said. “I know leaving the course today we are all smiling and delighted that a year ago we were eighth and today we were fourth. Momentum is certainly going our way. Our young ladies get better and better each day and as we continue through the season, who knows what is possible.”
Garcia was the Cavaliers’ top finisher, placing eighth in 20:58.4. Dezubay crossed in10th in 21:03.9 and first-year Morgane Gay narrowly missed earning freshman of the year honors, as Wake Forest’s freshman Anna Nosenko crossed two-tenths of a second ahead of Gay for the distinction. Gay finished 17th in 21:24.4.
Third-year Samantha Stafford was fourth for Virginia, taking 43rd in 22:02.2 and second-year Lyndsay Harper rounded out the Cavalier scorers, finishing 47th in 22:07.9.
All of the action was captured by the ACC Video Services crew, with a recap of the day’s action available on Monday, November 3 on ACC Select. The highlight package will feature both races as well as the awards ceremony and will be free of charge.
The Cavaliers will return to the friendly confines of Panorama Farms on Friday, hosting the Cavalier Open. Races are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.