By Wesley Evans
YORK, Pa. – Southern Virginia University cross country competed at the Coach Achtzehn Classic last Saturday in York, Pa., and had strong performances from both the men's and women's teams.
Men's Race (8k)
The Knights finished eighth out of twelve teams at the event, four of which were Capital Athletic Conference opponents including York (Pa.), St. Mary's (Md.), Penn State-Harrisburg and Marymount (Va.). The race featured a total of 114 runners.
"We had a very successful race," said third-year Southern Virginia head coach Logan Davis. "I was very proud of the men. Despite a tough race and a deep field of competition, they all made significant improvement from last week."
Freshman Michael Ward led the way for the Knights as he ran a season-best time of 28:02, good for 22nd place overall. Ward's 8k time Saturday was close to two minutes faster than his previous time last week at the Washington and Lee Invitational in Lexington, Va.
Ward was trailed by teammate Kevin Prince, who placed 36th with a career-best 8k time of 29:11. In his collegiate debut, freshman Ciaran Giroux entered the chute with a time of 29:50 to place 50th in the field.
Aaron Barraclough came in fourth for the team with a time of 34:44, a three-minute improvement from the W&L Invite, while senior Dan Fotheringham improved his 8k time by five minutes, finishing at 39:25 to round out the Southern Virginia squad.
The Knights faced adversity when the men's top finisher from last week and Capital Athletic Conference Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week and USCAA Runner of the Week, Patrick Gonzalez, had to drop out due to injury. Until that point he was in the top five for the entire race.
Franklin and Marshall led all teams at the meet with 38 points, edging out CAC representatives York (Pa.) and St. Mary's (Md.). Southern Virginia's eighth-place finish was ahead of both conference foes Penn State Harrisburg and Marymount (Va.).
Women's Race (6k)
The Southern Virginia University women's cross country team ran four participants in the meet who competed with solid finishing times and placements.
In her first career 6k, freshman Becca Lords paced Southern Virginia with a finishing time of 26:41 for 32nd place at the meet.
Sadie Taylor followed Lords with a solid performance, finishing the race with a time of 30:28. Senior Katelyn Tonini and freshman Hayden Larman rounded out the Knights' lineup, finishing with times of 31:53 and 33:49, respectively.
"Despite some mid-week illnesses, the women showed much improvement and remained competitive while moving up from the 5k to the 6k," Davis said.
Goucher College (Md.) led all teams with a total score of 70 points.
The cross country teams are back in action next Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Maroon Invitational in Roanoke, Va.