After another first place finish, this time in the Christopher Newport University XC Invitational, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams now look ahead to the Atlantic 10 championships on Nov. 1.
This season, both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams came out of the gates looking like new teams compared to last season.
In the men’s 2013-14 season, the Rams only placed first and second once, often trailing their opponents. The roster only lost two runners but the team managed to improve drastically.
The women’s cross-country team didn’t win any meets in the 2013-14 season, only placing second once. This season, both teams have hurdled past their opponents, never ranking lower than second at a meet.
The VCU men’s cross-country team got their third win Oct. 17 at the CNU invitational. The Rams have won every meet they’ve competed in except for the William & Mary Invitational where they placed second.
Senior Mohamed Adam continues to lead the Rams, placing first last Saturday with a time of 25.35.1, his best 8K time this season and his third individual victory of the year.
Not far behind Adam was Hush, placing third with a 26.09.3 time. Senior Matthew Earman and freshman Dylan Richeson placed in the top ten as well.
“Most of us are seniors so we want to work a little harder to close out our final year,” senior Sam Hush said.
The women’s team placed second in the CNU invitational when sophomore Emily Dyke won her fourth meet of the season, running a 6K in 22:29.5.
Freshman Nichelle Scott and Kathleen Gardner both joined Dyke in the top 10 at the CNU invitational. Both freshmen have served as vital assets to the team, often placing in the top 10.
Scott has been giving Dyke a run for her money, often trailing her by only a minute, or even seconds on some trails. Scott ran a 23:45.1 and placed second at CNU.
“There’s a sense of friendly competition,” Scott said. “But also the sense of team that we need to be closer in order to go to that common goal.”
Next on cross-country’s agenda is to continue their winning ways at the A-10 Championship in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Nov. 1.
“It looks a lot hillier and it’s going to be a lot colder,” Hush said in comparison to last year’s A-10 Championship. “But I think we’re as prepared as we can be.”
The past two seasons, the men’s team came in 10th out of 13.
Last season, La Salle University took the gold with a total of 27 points. Currently a senior, Nico Greco won the A-10 Championship last year with a 23:49.9 time. In addition to Greco, five other Explorers placed in the top 20. Lucky for the Rams, Greco and senior Ian Barnhill are the only returning runners that placed in the top-20 last year.
Adam placed 34th with a time of 24:54.7, one minute and eight seconds behind Greco. Teammates Khalid Khamis and Hush both placed in the top 50 as well. Both Rams clocked personal records, shaving 40 seconds off the times they ran the week before. The Rams racked up 252 points.
Last season, the women’s team placed last in the A-10 Championship, struggling to make it in the top 50. Former Ram Ariel Briales was the first Ram to cross the finish line with a time of 18:40.7, good for 53rd overall. A few steps behind Briales was Dyke, with a time of 18:43.2.
With the entire cross-country program looking like a new team, only time will tell how the Rams and the rest of the A-10 will do on Nov. 1.
“I think we can surprise some people,” Hush said.