By Daniel Whitehead
BUENA VISTA, Va.—As Southern Virginia University Athletics gears up for the 2013-14 season we are taking a look back at the top five contests from last year.
It is an exciting time for Southern Virginia as the Knights prepare for their first season of competition in the Capital Athletic Conference and second year as provisional NCAA Division III members.
Each week leading up to fall competition, we will highlight one significant game from this past season to build excitement for another successful campaign for the Knights.
No. 1—Women's Cross Country Once Again National Champions
Nov. 9, 2012—Long established as a powerful running program, the Southern Virginia University women's cross country team earned its 11th United States Collegiate Athletic Association national title in 15 years last November in Lake Placid, N.Y.
"Winning our 11th title in 15 years is just amazing," said head coach Logan Davis. "Every time I think about it I remember that this isn't something that just one person did. It was years of talented and hardworking young women.
"The 2013 season will be our final one in the USCAA. The women's cross country team won its first national championship the first year it was in the USCAA (then the NSCAA) and it would be fitting to bookend our decade and a half of dominance with our 12th championship."
With a powerful performance from junior Kera Macfarlane-Nielsen (Yorktown, Va.) finishing fourth overall in 25:15.93, the Knights defended their 2011 title from 16 other teams with 67 points. Achieving USCAA All-America First Team status, Macfarlane-Nielsen ran the course under 1:18.19 from her 2011 time.
Tori Faulkner (Mesa, Ariz.) and Leah Huber (Castle Rock, Colo.) also placed in the top 10 with respective ninth- and 10th-place finishes. Both earned USCAA All-America Second Team honors and All-Academic accolades.
Shelbi Prince (Mexico, Mo.) and Jacey Moore (Mesa, Ariz.) closed out the scoring for Southern Virginia as they placed 21st and 23rd, respectively. The Knights placed 27 points ahead of second-place finisher Saint Mary of the Woods College.
Men's Cross Country
On the men's side, Patrick Gonzalez (Riverside, Calif.) was the top runner for the program as he placed third overall out of 182 runners in 28:09.90 to help the team to a 10th-place finish with 286 points.
With a top-five placement, he was named to the USCAA All-America First Team two weeks after being named to the CAC All-Conference Second Team.
His top-five finish placed Gonzalez on the All-America First Team in addition to his spot on the CAC All-Conference Second Team and helped the Knights to a 10th-place team finish with 286 total points.