The College of William and Mary pulled out the narrowest of victories Saturday, squeaking past no. 13 University of Virginia by one point to earn the Southeast Regional title. The Tribe’s championship clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship meet for the 12th consecutive season, making the College one of five teams to have reached the past 12 meets.
U.Va. jumped out of the gate quickly in the 10-km race, gaining an early advantage on the Tribe, but the College countered with a tighter five-man pack at the finish line to edge the Cavaliers.
Through the top-three runners, U.Va. led the Tribe by 11 points, thanks to three top-10 finishes. Cavalier sophomore Emil Heineking finished third with a time of 30:21.8, beating out the College’s top finisher, junior Jon Grey, who finished sixth, by four seconds. U.Va.’s Ryan Foster finished fourth overall ahead of Tribe junior Colin Leak, who finished ninth and surged past Cavalier freshman Ryan Collins in the final 100 meters of the race.
Collins crossed the finish line 15 seconds before the College’s third runner, junior Ben Massam, but the Tribe’s superior depth pushed it into the lead.
Massam, running his first race since Pre-Nationals when he was ailing from flu-like symptoms, and sophomore Patterson Wilhelm finished ahead of U.Va.’s fourth runner in 13th and 16th places, respectively.
Sophomore Lewis Woodard’s 22nd-place finish gave the College just enough of a margin to win.
Grey, Leak, Wilhelm, Massam and Woodard earned All-Southeast honors for finishing in the top 25.
The women’s team was not nearly as successful, as team leader junior Emily Anderson’s Achilles tendon injury put the Tribe at a disadvantage before the race even began. Though the team rallied to finish fifth behind 22nd-place finisher junior Meghan Burns, who was the only Tribe runner to receive All-Southeast honors, and 30th-place sophomore Betsy Graney, Head Coach Kathy Newberry knew that the meet could have gone better.
“This doesn’t show what we are capable of,” Newberry said.
The women travel to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx Saturday for the ECAC Championships. Senior Emily Schroeder will likely take the place of the injured Anderson, who will shut down her training for the foreseeable future.