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Virginia cross country competes in ACC Cross Country Championship

The women's team impressed while the men’s team struggled to make an impact

<p>Sophomore distance runner Margot Appleton cracked the top 10 in the women's 6k, leading the Cavaliers to a third-place finish.</p>

Sophomore distance runner Margot Appleton cracked the top 10 in the women's 6k, leading the Cavaliers to a third-place finish.

Virginia men’s and women’s cross country teams competed Friday in the ACC Cross Country Championships hosted by Virginia at Panorama Farms — the site of the 2023 NCAA Championships. The Cavaliers placed third out of 15 teams in the women’s event and sixth out of 15 teams in the men’s event. 

The men’s team competed in the 8000-meter event, while the women’s team competed in the 6000-meter event. There was one heat for each event. 

The No. 25 Virginia women’s team raced against four teams ranked in the nation’s top 15 — No.1 NC State, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 8 North Carolina and No. 15 Syracuse. 

The Cavaliers consistently kept themselves positioned at the front of the race to remain within the top three at two, three and five-kilometer splits. 

NC State won first overall with a total of 34 points, while Notre Dame finished second with a total of 38 points. 

Virginia finished third with a total of 98 points, beating North Carolina and Syracuse — two teams ranked above them. Sophomore distance runner Margot Appleton led the Cavaliers and finished ninth overall with a time of 19:57.9. Sophomore distance runner Camryn Menninger finished 12th close behind Appleton with a time of 19:59.7. The third finisher for the Cavaliers was sophomore distance runner Mia Barnett with a time of 20:13.0 — finishing 17th overall.

Appleton was proud of their performance and is looking forward to the upcoming qualifier meet for the NCAA championships. 

“So we have regionals in two weeks,” Appleton said. “We’re hoping to get the automatic qualifier there, so that would be top two. I’m feeling, like, confident now we beat UNC today and they’re number two in our region, so we feel confident and good. There’s still some work to do but I think we’re excited. We have good momentum.”

The No. 13 Virginia men’s team raced against six other nationally ranked teams — No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 8 Wake Forest, No. 12 NC State, No. 16 Syracuse, No. 18 North Carolina and No. 29 Duke. 

The Cavaliers started strong, leading the front of the pack at the two-kilometer split. However, after three kilometers, Wake Forest overtook first place while Virginia fell behind. 

Wake Forest won first overall with a total of 44 points. Syracuse finished second with 86 points, while North Carolina was close behind with 87 points. 

Virginia finished sixth overall with a total of 125 points. Sophomore distance runner Justin Wachtel led the Cavaliers, finishing 13 overall with a time of 23:19.9. Sophomore distance runner Yasin Sodo finished second for Virginia with a time of 23:22.3 — finishing 17 overall. Sophomore distance runner Wes Porter was close behind Sodo — finishing 20th overall with a time of 23:24.6.

All three of the Virginia men’s top finishers earned All-ACC Honors. Both Virginia squads finished higher than last season’s results — men’s placed eighth and women’s placed tenth.

The next meet for Virginia is the NCAA Southeast Regional held Nov. 11 in Louisville, Ky. The NCAA Cross Country Championships will be held shortly after Nov. 19 in Stillwater, Okla.


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