Oct. 27, 2012
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—The Virginia men’s cross country team finished second with 61 points at the Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday (Oct. 27) at the Virginia Tech Cross Country Course at Smithfield Plantation in Blacksburg, Va. The women placed sixth with 170 points.
The Cavalier women were led by graduate student Catherine White (Roanoke, Va.), who earned silver with a second-place finish. Freshman Connor Rog (Fairfield, Conn.) was named the men’s ACC Freshman of the Year for the being the top true freshman finisher (18th overall).
“This is just my second 8K and running with the best runners in the ACC is amazing,” Rog said. “The race itself was insane, we went out really fast. Around the 2K mark, I fell around a corner, so that was a little scary. After the 4K to 6K part, which is the toughest portion of the race, (junior) Thomas Porter and I got rolling. I’m excited to be the top freshman, but I want to be up there farther.”
“I felt very comfortable throughout the entire race and felt fit,” White said. “I was glad I was engaged through race to the last kilometer. It stinks to not win, but I was happy that I was in it at the end with a chance to win.”
The men finished just six points behind champion Virginia Tech (55 points) and one point ahead of third place Florida State (62 points). NC State was fourth with 74 points, followed by Duke (112), North Carolina (149), Wake Forest (209), Boston College (246), Georgia Tech (272), Clemson (280) and Miami (342).
Florida State won the women’s crown for the fifth consecutive season with 35 points. Duke was second with 67 points, followed by Boston College (82), NC State (86), North Carolina (152), Virginia (170), Clemson (191), Wake Forest (222), Georgia Tech (258), Virginia Tech (260), Maryland (296) and Miami (350).
The men were paced by graduate student Zach Gates (Fishers, Ind.) and redshirt freshman Kyle King (Yorktown, Va.), who finished fourth and fifth in 23:46.8 and 23:51.3, respectively. Porter placed 11th to join Gates and King as All-Conference honorees. After Rog in 18th, sophomore Drew Paisley (Virginia Tech, Va.) rounded out the scoring five with a 23rd-place finish. William Mulherin of Virginia Tech won the individual title in 23:37.3.
“Obviously our goal was to win and we thought we had a legitimate chance to come in first,” head men’s cross country coach Pete Watson said. “Everyone’s a little down we didn’t accomplish that, but I’m proud of these guys. They went out in front, ran hard and executed our game plan that we had going in. We’re a couple weeks away with Sean (Keveren) and Mark (Amirault) from being at full strength, but other than that, the guys were great.”
White led the women across the line in 20:06.0, less than six seconds from champion Violah Lagat of Florida State (20:00.1). Junior Barbara Strehler (Richmond, Va.) placed 18th in 20:57.4 and sophomore Kathleen Stevens (Blacksburg, Va.) was 30th in 21:20.2. Junior Katherine Walker (Stafford, Va.) and freshman Audrey Batzel (Virginia Beach, Va.) rounded out the scoring five in 58th and 74th overall.
“We had some improvements in some spots over a couple weeks ago,” Morgan said. “We look to make progress each week and we’re looking to have a good regional meet in two weeks. Catherine had a great run. There are at least four women who are of NCAA top-10 quality, so we knew it was going to be tough. She gave it a great shot, but hats off to Violah (Lagat) on a good race.”
Next up, the Cavaliers host the Virginia/Panorama Farms Open next Saturday (Nov. 3) at 10 a.m.