Coming off of a strong performance Sept. 6 at the Spider Alumni Open in which both the men’s and women’s Virginia cross country teams finished in first, the squads looked for a repeat performance last weekend.
The invitational, which took place in Earlysville, Va., featured the women’s team on the starting line first at 5:15 p.m. for the 5k event. The Cavaliers displayed dominance in the event with half of the top-10 finishing times belonging to Virginia runners. This included freshman Mia Barnett who came in first at 17:13.7 and junior Helena Lindsay who came in second at 17:25.2.
“It was a good opener,” said Vin Lananna, Virginia’s director of track and field and cross country. “Mia Barnett, as a first-year, winning the race is a big deal for her and our women overall had a pretty dominant performance. As a team, they did really well. It was great to see all of our first years do such a great job.”
Other top times for the Cavaliers included those of freshman Sophie Atkinson, senior Gabriella Karas and freshman Margot Appleton. The only other teams to finish in the top-10 were Navy and William & Mary. Runners from East Carolina, High Point, Marshall and Maryland crossed the finish line not too far behind the top-10 pack.
On the scorecard for the women’s 5k, Virginia finished quite comfortably ahead of the competition with 17 points. Navy and East Carolina, who came in second and third place overall, respectively, were well behind with 48 and 103 points.
The women’s team also finished with a significant edge in total time, beating out the next closest team, Navy, by over two minutes. The Cavaliers’ average time for the 5k was an impressive 17:36.86, which propelled them to the first place finish.
On the men’s side, the team finished just seven points short of repeating their first place performance from the Spider Alumni Open. Virginia finished the 8k in second place overall with 38 points, trailing Navy who locked up first place on the scorecards with 31 points.
The squad’s total time for the 8k stood as impressive regardless at 2:03:55.10 and an average of 24:47.02.
Senior Rohann Asfaw came in first place overall with a time of 24:14.7 as junior Johnny Rogers and sophomore Jacob Hunter closed in sixth and eight place, respectively. Other teams in the mix for top individual finishers again included Navy, William & Mary and High Point.
“On the men’s side, you can’t be anything but excited for Rohann,” Lananna said. “That was a hard race. Give credit to Navy. They ran really tough. Once we put all of our first-years into the lineup I think we’ll be pretty good this year.”
Next up, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will be heading to Notre Dame, Ind. for the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1. That invite will be followed up by a return to Earlysville for the XC23 Invitational on Oct. 15 before the teams round out the month at the ACC Championship.