Cross-country teams continue strong season at meet in Virginia

Jon Albert

The No. 2 ranked women’s and No. 24 ranked men’s cross-country teams finished 1st and 3rd respectively last Friday at the Panorama Farms Invitational.

The women’s team’s dominating performance, aside from their success in the subpar weather, was highlighted by the team claiming the top four spots on the final leaderboard.

Junior Shelia Reid claimed the individual title in a speedy 20:13.43, with senior Nicole Schappert following closely behind with a quick 20:15.86. Junior All-American Amanda Marino finished third in 20:18.88 and edged out sophomore Bogdana Mimic who finished fourth in 20:19.96.

“I am so proud,” said women’s head coach Gina Proccacio. “The girls went out in a tight pack, worked together, and got it done.”

Another remarkable accomplishment for the ‘Cats was that not only did the ‘Nova women sweep the top four spots on the podium, but all four also smashed the previous course record of 20:23 held by 2009 NCAA 1500m champion and 2008 NCAA cross country runner-up Susan Kujiken.

On the men’s side, sophomore Matthew Mildenhall led the ‘Cats with a time of 23:36, and finished second overall. Senior Dan Lewis kept up the pace for the Wildcats, using a late push to come from behind and finish sixth with a time of 23:48.

Emil Heineking of Virginia was the top finisher on the men’s side, clocking in at a blistering time of 23:16, 20 seconds ahead of Mildenhall.

Rounding out the top four for the ‘Cats, senior Bobby Papazian clocked in at 24:08 to finish 15th, while junior Matthew Gibney finished in 21st place in 24:21.

“We ran a very respectable race today,” said men’s cross-country head coach Marcus O’Sullivan. “Not everything was going our way, but we did what we had to do and we stayed in front of Duke and hold our position. Overall it was a good race for us on a challenging course.”

The men’s team was behind only Virginia and Syracuse, who are ranked Nos. 14 and 11, respectively. However, the ‘Cats managed to keep the pressure in the rankings on No. 26 Duke, who finished one spot behind, in fourth.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have a meet at Haverford College tomorrow. Afterwards, both teams will also be looking ahead to the Big East Championships on Oct. 31 in Kenosha, Wis., where they hope their solid regular seasons will lead to postseason success.