By Daniel Whitehead
SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Southern Virginia University cross country runner Patrick Gonzalez earned First Team All-America honors Friday afternoon by way of his seventh-place finish at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association cross country championship in Syracuse, N.Y.
A native of Riverside, Calif., the junior earned the honor for a second consecutive year after placing third at the 2012 race. He finished Friday's 8k race in muddy and snowy conditions in 28:13.1, helping the Knights to a fifth-place team finish with 211 points, its best finish in the meet since 2009 when they placed fourth.
"It was great for Patrick to earn the rank once again and prove his leadership to the team," said Southern Virginia head coach Logan Davis. "Despite the poor conditions, he kept his pace throughout the competition and rose to the occasion. We're very happy for him."
Freshman Michael Ward was the second finishing runner for the Knights as he placed 27th in 29:39.8 for 21 team points. Junior Kevin Prince came in 35th in 30:16, while Ciaron Giroux (78th, 32:00.6) and Aaron Barraclough (102nd, 34:49.6) also provided team points. Senior Dan Fotheringham finished the course in 35:53.2.
Host SUNY ESF won the men's team championship with 42 points, while Daemen College (74 points) and Dine College (80) pursued closely behind. SUNY ESF junior Timmy Callahan won the men's race with an 8k time of 27:30.7.
Women's 6k race
The Southern Virginia women's cross country team placed 12th in the meet with 286 points totaled. Senior captain Kera Macfarlane-Nielson led the way with an 18th-place finish in 26:01 for 14 team points as she narrowly missed the cut as a Second Team All-American, which requires a top-14 finish.
Freshman Rebecca Lords was the team's No. 2 runner by placing 27th overall in 26:33.6 for 23 team points. Junior Katelyn Tonini was third for the team completing the race in 30:57 for 101st place, while Sadie Taylor (107th, 32:04.6) and Hayden Larman (133rd, 37:08.7) also scored team points. Freshman Stephanie Peabody also competed for the Knights, finishing in 52:58.5.
"Overall, it wasn't a bad race for us this year but slower than we were hoping for," said Southern Virginia head coach Logan Davis. "The weather conditions affected everyone out there with how muddy and snowy it was. I thought our runners were strong and did their best, but we were hoping for a bit better results."
Daemen College won the women's race with 51 points, while SUNY ESF (89 points) and the University of Dallas (132) were close behind. Elaine Lowe of Cleary University won the individual title with a time of 23:07.6.
Men's 8k race
7th Patrick Gonzalez 28:13.1
27th Michael Ward 29:39.8
35th Kevin Prince 30:16.0
78th Ciaran Giroux 32:00.6
132nd Aaron Barraclough 34:49.6
144th Dan Fotheringham 35:53.2
Women's 6k race
18th Kera Macfarlane-Nielson 26:01.0
27th Rebecca Lords 26:33.6
101st Katelyn Tonini 30:57.0
107th Sadie Taylor 32:04.6
133rd Hayden Larman 37:08.7
144th Stephanie Peabody 52:58.5