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Virginia men’s cross country captures first, women’s team places second at Virginia Invite

Rohann Asfaw leads the Cavaliers to a win in its first cross country meet of the season

<p>Senior Rohann Asfaw led Virginia on the men’s side, running the fastest 8K of the meet.</p>

Senior Rohann Asfaw led Virginia on the men’s side, running the fastest 8K of the meet.

Virginia men’s and women’s cross country headed to Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va. to compete in the Virginia Invite Friday — which was the teams’ first meet of the 2020 season. Both teams had a strong showing, with the men’s team claiming first place with the fastest time of the competition and the women’s team finishing in second place.

The Cavaliers faced off against Wake Forest and North Carolina during the competition. The meet included an 8K race for the men and a 5K race for the women.

“I was really excited that North Carolina and Wake Forest [came down],” said Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country. “To have them come down the day of and compete, it's pretty tough.”

In the men’s competition, the Cavaliers won with a score of 26 points, the Demon Deacons finished second with 49 points and the Tar Heels ended with 52 points.

Senior Rohann Asfaw led Virginia on the men’s side. He ran the fastest 8k of the meet with a time of 24:03.1 — besting the next closest competitor by 8 seconds. Freshman Wes Porter was the next Cavalier to finish, crossing the finish line with a time of 24:15.4 and securing the fourth overall spot. Graduate student Randy Neish and sophomore Bryson Crites claimed the third and fourth fastest times for Virginia. They finished with times of 24:18.3 and 24:23.8, respectively, and placed fifth and sixth place overall.

Freshman Kellen Hasle rounded out the scoring five finishers for the Cavaliers — with all five runners in the top ten. The team had an average time of 24:19.76 — two seconds slower than its average time at the 2019 Panorama Farms Invitational.

“I think we had a really good showing today,” Asfaw said. “I’m really proud of the guys. We really kept together and finished strong.”

In the women’s competition, Virginia placed second, tallying 38 points. North Carolina was first with 21 points and Wake Forest finished third with 77 points. 

Senior Hannah Moran led the Virginia women with a third-place overall finish — ending with a time of 17:20.2. Six seconds later, senior Gabriella Karas cross the finish line as the second Virginia runner and fifth overall.

Freshman Anna Workman finished seventh overall with a time of 17:30.5 while senior Kiera Bothwell finished two seconds later, securing the 10th overall spot and the title of fourth-fastest Cavalier that day. Rounding out Virginia’s scoring runners, senior Olivia Sargent finished with a time of 17:49.0. The team averaged a time of 17:31.66.

“A lot of the summer, we weren't sure if we were going to be able to compete or what that would look like,” Moran said. "Racing today … it was nice to have a sense of normalcy."

Both the men’s and women’s teams return to action Wednesday in Cary, N.C. for the NC State Invitational — the teams’ first and only regular-season competition away from Panorama Farms.

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