By Daniel Whitehead
SALISBURY, Md.—Competing in their second Capital Athletic Conference championship meet, the Southern Virginia University cross country teams represented the university well with strong finishes Saturday morning at Winter Place Park in Salisbury, Md.
Hosted by CAC member Salisbury University, the meet was highlighted by several personal and season bests by Knight runners. As a provisional NCAA member, Southern Virginia was not allowed to receive team points for placement, but multiple Knights competed well for strong finishes in their respective races.
Junior Patrick Gonzalez continued to show his leadership by placing 23rd in the men's 8k race in a season-best 26:58.30. Freshman Michael Ward, consistently the team's second finishing runner this season, once again accomplished the feat by arriving in 50th place overall in 27:58.80, his second-best 8k time of the year. He achieved a 27:12.80 two weeks ago at the Gettysburg Invitational for 38th place at the meet.
Junior Kevin Prince placed third for the Knights with a time of 28:19.10, his second-best 8k time of the season, for 61st place in the race. Freshman Aaron Barraclough finished fourth for the team with a personal-best time of 32:47.30 (108th), while senior Dan Fotheringham crossed the finish line in a season-best 33:15.80 (112th).
Continuing to battle health issues, the women's squad competed with only three runners in the women's 6k race. Junior Kera Macfarlane Nielson, the team's lead runner for the meets she has participated in this season, led the team with a 37th-place finish in 24:41.30.
Freshman Rebecca Lords placed 50th in the race with a personal-best time of 25:34.30, while junior Katelyn Tonini came in 79th place overall in 29:10.30.
"We are happy with our runners and the effort they put forth into preparing for this race," said Southern Virginia assistant coach Jeremiah John. "It is great to be here in this conference that has so many talented athletes and incredible runners. While we're happy with how several of our runners performed, today's results show we need to get better. As a coaching staff we're happy with their improved times and personal bests, but we also need to improve to compete in this league."
York College's Tim Hartung was named Male Athlete of the Year after winning the men's race, while York's Caroline Delany received the Female Athlete of the Year honor for claiming the individual women's title.
The York men placed first in the men's race with 33 points, while Christopher Newport won the women's race with 31 points in the meet.
The Knights next compete in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Championship meet on Friday, Nov. 8, hosted by SUNY-ESF (Environmental Science and Forestry) in Syracuse, N.Y. The women's 6k will take place at 11 a.m., while the men's 8k will occur shortly after at noon.
23rd Patrick Gonzalez 26:58.30
50th Michael Ward 27:58.80
61st Kevin Prince 28:19.10
108th Aaron Barraclough 32:47.30
112th Dan Fotheringham 33:15.80
37th Kera Nielson 24:41.30
50th Rebecca Lords 25:34.30
79th Katelyn Tonini 29:10.30