In the first postseason meet of the season, the Virginia men’s and women’s cross country teams vied for the top position in the conference. The No. 23 Cavalier men placed fourth overall, edged out by Syracuse, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. Following the conclusion of that race, the Cavalier women finished 11th.
The men completed three loops for eight kilometers total on Virginia Tech’s Buford Meredith Cross Country Course. From the start, the Virginia men were able to form a pack and race as a contingent. At the 4k split, they sat in fourth place with freshman Peter Morris, senior Ari Klau, senior Alex Corbett, junior Lachlan Cook and senior AJ Ernst all within six seconds of each other. From Morris in 14th to Ernst in 25th, the men positioned themselves well for the latter half of the race.
Through the final 4k, however, the men were unable to move up the leaderboard. Maintaining the pack of five, Morris crossed the line first for the Cavaliers with a time of 24:45.2 for 12th place. He was followed by Ernst (20th), Corbett (21st), Cook (22nd) and Klau (25th), who rounded out the scoring five. From Morris’ finish to Klau’s time of 25:01.9, they were able to maintain a tight formation throughout the entire race.
The Virginia men’s point total rounded out to 100 for a tie with Virginia Tech. However, because three of Virginia Tech’s top five runners beat out Virginia head-to-head, the Hokies won the tie-breaker and the men’s cross country point in the Commonwealth Clash. Overall, Syracuse took first place with 68 points, Notre Dame finished second with 78 points and Virginia Tech edged out Virginia for third.
Individually, the top 21 finishers receive All-ACC honors. Three Cavalier runners earned All-ACC — Morris, Ernst and Corbett.
"Our men ran a very positive race today," said Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country . "Peter Morris stepped up and did a great job towards the front. Our pack competed well and worked together throughout the entire race. It was exciting seeing Alex Corbett and AJ Ernst join Peter on the podium for All-ACC.”
An hour later, the women raced two loops for a 6k. Similarly to how the men remained in fourth place for the majority of the race, the women crossed the midway point in 11th place and maintained this position for the entirety of the last 3k. The Cavalier women, however, were much more spread out than the men.
Junior Gabriella Karas was the first Cavalier to cross the finish line in 30th with a time of 21:39.5. The subsequent finishers were junior Kiera Bothwell (45th), junior Hannah Moran (59th), junior Olivia Sargent (64th) and sophomore Helena Lindsay (104th).
"Our women continue to be a work in progress," Lananna said. "It was nice to see Gabby Karas have a strong performance and compete well today. We just need to continue putting in the work and moving forward."
The Virginia men’s and women’s cross country teams will next compete in the NCAA Southeast Regional at their home course, Panorama Farms, Nov. 15.