October 13, 2012

Women's Cross Country Makes History at Gettysburg, Men Continue to Show Improvement

Written by Chris Pendleton and Matt McKinney

GETTYSBURG, Pa.—Southern Virginia University cross country competed at the Gettysburg Split Squad last Saturday—one the largest collegiate meets in the nation—with the men's team finishing 32nd out of 36 teams and the women's team finishing 17th out of 36 participating teams.

Women's Results (6K)

Southern Virginia women's cross country made history at Gettysburg as Tori Faulkner (Mesa, Ariz.), Leah Huber (Castle Rock, Colo.), Kera Macfarlane-Neilson (Yorktown, Va.), Jacey Moore (Mesa, Ariz.) and Shelbi Prince (Mexico, Mo.) combined for the fastest 1-5 times in school history with an all-time low 6K average of 25:11.8 as all five of the Knights also recorded personal best 6K times.

"Although our overall team place may be deceiving, I think it's safe to say that was the best women's cross country race in university history," said second-year Head Coach Logan Davis. "And that's saying something for a program that's won ten national titles over the past 15 years."

Sophomore phenom Faulkner, who placed second overall at last year's USCAA national championship, ran a career best 6K time of 24:21 placing 60 out of 394 total runners. Gettysburg also marked the fourth consecutive race with Faulkner entering the chute as the Southern Virginia's top finisher.

Fellow sophomore Huber finished with the Knights' second sub-25 minute time of the day at 24:55, while Macfarlane-Nielson, Moore and Prince all finished under 26 minutes placing 121, 127, and 128 respectively.

"If we stay healthy and run the way we did at Gettysburg, I think we have a great shot at repeating as USCAA national champion," said Davis.

NCAA Division II Shippensburg University won the women's meet with the score of 92 followed by D-III Gettysburg College (118) and D-I Bucknell University (127).

Men's Results (8K)

Although the men's team finished near the bottom of the pack while racing without Patrick Gonzalez (Riverside, Calif.), who has been the Knights' top finisher in each of their previous four races this season, three Southern Virginia runners—Benjamin Houldridge (North Bend, Wash.), Dan Fotheringham (Salt Lake City, Utah), and Spencer Long (Plano, Texas)—recorded personal best 8K times at Gettysburg.

"Our young men's team continues to show improvement," said Davis. "It would have been interesting to see how Patrick [Gonzalez] would have faired today had he been healthy."

Houldridge continued his standout freshman campaign leading Southern Virginia with a career time of 28:53, while placing 185 out of 389 total runners. Houldridge's finish time was a thirty-three second improvement from his previous low of 29:25.2, which he set at the JMU Invitational, as well as his second sub-30 minute finish of the season.

Senior Casey Mundell (Dededo, Guam) followed Houldridge with a season best 31:10—good enough for 300th place. Fotheringham, Tyson Babbel (Bryn Mawr, Pa.), and Long also all finished with season low times, including Long's first sub-40 minute race of the year at 39:17.

NCAA Division II Lock Haven University won the massive meet finishing with 50 total points followed by D-I Bucknell University (79) and D-II Shippensburg University (122).

Southern Virginia returns to action next Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Hood Open in Fredrick, Md. Women's cross country won at Hood College last October, while the men's team finished fourth of nine.