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Virginia men’s and women’s cross country teams finish first in the Spider Alumni Open

Both Virginia cross country teams put on a dominant performances at their season-opening meet on Saturday

<p>Karas led the women's team to a 29-point performance, notching a personal best along the way.</p>

Karas led the women's team to a 29-point performance, notching a personal best along the way.

Virginia men’s and women’s cross country teams were at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Va. on Saturday morning for the Richmond Spider Alumni Open. Both teams started off their season on a positive note, clinching first place for their respective events.

The men’s team competed in the 5000-meter event, with Cavaliers owning every spot in the top eight finishers except for first and fifth. The women’s team competed in the 2-mile, and Virginia runners ended up in several top spots, including second, fourth and fifth.

The Cavaliers competed against six other schools, including Richmond, which came in second in both events. Christopher Newport University came in third in the men’s event, and James Madison placed third in the women’s event. 

The men’s team finished with 22 points, clear of the competition by more than 30 points. They  were led by graduate student Ka’eo Kruse, who put up a personal best with a time of 14:49.0. Kruse finished in second place, 3.2 seconds behind Richmond senior Peter Borger. The next two to cross the finish line were also Cavaliers —  sophomore Jack Eliason and junior Jacob Hunter finished with times of 14:49.9 and 14:50.9, respectively.William & Mary graduate transfer Johnny Rogers and sophomore Conor Murphy finished in sixth and seventh respectively. 

The women’s team also finished dominantly with 29 points — 19 points ahead of second place. They were led by senior Gabriella Karas, who also scored a personal best with a time of 10:55.9. Karas finished in second place, 6.9 seconds behind James Madison sophomore Miranda Stanhope. Senior Helena Lindsay finished in fourth place with 11:02.4, followed by sophomore Ellie Desmond 1.4 seconds later. Graduate student Taylor Jones and freshman Veronic Boire finished in eighth and 10th place, respectively.

Both teams finished with the lowest average time and the smallest spread among all the runners, highlighting their commanding performance and consistency. 

“The men and the women did a good job today of winning their openers,” said Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country. “We’re excited to have our next meet at home on Sept. 17 when we host our invitational at Panorama Park.”

The next meet on Sept.17 will be the first of only two home meets this season at Panorama Farms.