TERRE HAUTE, Ind. –
The Virginia men’s and women’s cross country teams concluded the 2008 season at the NCAA Championships on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Family Sports Center on Monday morning. Second-year Emil Heineking (Chardon, Ohio), the only true freshman to earn All-America recognition a year ago, picked up his second-consecutive honor to become the Cavaliers’ first two-time cross country All-American. He finished 26th overall to lead the men to a 14th-place showing, while the women were 26th.
“When you consider how many universities make sincere attempts at fielding really good cross country teams and how many great athletes and coaches there are out there, for us to finish 26th and 14th on the same day is fantastic,” head coach Jason Vigilante said. “Of course, there are always areas that you see room for improvement, but to me, each person contributed their very best today and I’m proud of all of our athletes and the staff that went into today’s performance. We’ll travel home now, visit with our families, and reflect on a great season for both the men and the women. I’m happy with what we’ve accomplished. Today was a fine day to finish on a high note.”
Heineking was the first ACC runner across the line, completing the 10k course in 30:02.0, to become the highest Cavalier finisher since Bobby Thiele took 26th at the 1999 championships. First-year Ryan Collins (Mansfield, Mass.) was second for the Cavaliers, finishing in 30:38.4 to place 70th and sixth-year Ryan Foster (Stevens City, Va.), racing in the final competition of his collegiate career, crossed in 99th with a time of 30:54.7 Fourth-year Andy Biladeau (Lutz, Fla.) was 123rd in 31:04.6 and classmate Andrew Jesien (Bethesda, Md.) rounded out the scoring Cavaliers, taking 158th and a time of 31:22.0.
Oregon’s Galen Rupp won the race in 29:03.2 to lead the Ducks to the team championship with 93 points, compared to Iona’s runner-up finish with 147 points. Stanford finished third with 227 points. Individually, Samuel Chelanga from Liberty finished in 29:08.0 for runner-up honors and Iona’s Andrew Ledwith took third in 29:25.4
For the women, fourth-year Lauretta Dezubay (Bethlehem, Pa.) led Virginia, finishing the 6k race in 87th in 21:07.2. First-year Morgane Gay (Bethesda, Md.) crossed in 108th with a time of 21:16.0 and third-year Stephanie Garcia (South Riding, Va.) took 133rd in 21:25.3. Third-year Samantha Stafford (Charlottesville, Va.) was fourth for the Cavaliers, claiming 197th and a time of 21:57.5. Third-year Sara Casscells (Wilmington, Del.) rounded out the scoring Cavaliers, taking 222nd in 22:18.2.
Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego won the women’s title, finishing in 19:28.1, while Florida State’s Susan Kuijken claimed runner-up honors in 19:34.9 and Tasmin Fanning of Virginia Tech took third in 19:37.1. Washington won the women’s team title with 79 points, while Oregon took second with 131 points. Florida State claimed third with 163 points.
Virginia concluded the season with six team titles (three men, three women), including the men’s second-consecutive ACC Championship and the women’s Southeast Region title. Led by Foster, the programs first-ever male individual ACC Champion and Dezubay’s back-to-back titles at the Lou Onesty and George Mason Invitationals, the Cavaliers also claimed five individual titles, with Miller winning the men’s Lou Onesty and Heineking earning the top spot at the George Mason Invite.
Vigilante was voted the ACC Men’s Coach of the Year and named the Women’s Southeast Region Coach of the Year for his accomplishments in just his first season with the Cavaliers.