Cross Country teams sprint to the finish line

Jennifer Werling
Contributing Writer

Sophomore Emily Dyke finished first among all female competitors in the Virginia State Invitational, earning the Virginia lottery Student Athlete of the Week honors. Courtesy by VCU Athletics.

VCU’s men’s and women’s cross country teams collectively started their 2014-15 season on the right track, both placing first overall in the Virginia State XC Invitational,  the first meet of the season.

The women’s cross country relay team came out of the gates running, coming in first overall with a time of 1:44:16. Sophomore Emily Dyke led the pack, placing first among all female competitors in the 5k race. The showing marks Dyke’s first collegiate win, finishing with a time of 20:16. Last year, Dyke finished just shy of first in each of the team’s last three meets.

VCU freshman Nichelle Scott would follow 12 seconds later with a time of 20:28. Freshman Courtney Holleran (20:51), sophomore Caitlin McNicholl (21:03), and freshman Kathleen Gardner (21:38) helped VCU sweep the top five spots in the individual 5k race. Sophomore Lindsey Seeley placed ninth overall with a time of 22:52.VCU accounted for six top-10 finishes, all of which were underclassmen.

Entering her fifth year as the director of cross county, Nicole Cook was pleased with how her freshman runners ran.

“I’m really pleased with the freshmen stepping it up,” Cook said.

The young team’s remarkable feat should not be understated. The women’s cross country team is made of eight underclassmen, two juniors, and only one senior.

In contrast, the men’s cross country team is made up mostly of upperclassmen. Senior Mohammed Adam continued his impressive showings from last year, as he finished first overall among individual racers in the 8k relay. Senior Sam Hush would finish fourth overall with a time of 28:27. Sophomore Austin Lushinski was the next Ram to finish clocking in at 28:44, finishing sixth overall. Senior Matthew Earman would round out the top-10 finishes for VCU, finishing eighth with a time of 28:52.

Overall, Cook praised both team’s showing as a whole.

“They ran well in unfavorable conditions with the weather and on a tough course,” Cook said.

“I’m looking forward to seeing them continue to get better as the seasons goes.”

The men’s team would finish first overall after a strong showing, with a time of 2:23:32.

“I think it’s good to have the opening meet that you can win, but I do think they know that it was more about shaking off the rust. Now we get down to business,” Cook said.

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