Cross country: Women race to historic finish at NCAA Regionals
Another week, another performance worthy of the history books.
The No. 19 William and Mary women’s cross country team finished second at the NCAA Southeast Regional Friday in Charlotte, N.C., earning an automatic team bid to the NCAA Championships this weekend in Louisville, Ky.
The Tribe, spurred on by a deep stable of runners, garnered its seventh NCAA berth and its first since 2005. No. 10 Duke claimed the meet with a score of 81, but the Tribe secured its highest ever finish with a 123, edging out No. 30 North Carolina State and Kentucky.
Meanwhile, the men finished eighth in the Southeast Regional as seniors Alex McGrath and Josh Hardin garnered All-Region due to their 18th and 25th-place finishes, respectively. McGrath, who ranked sixth amongst potential at-large candidates, narrowly missed an at-large invitation to the NCAA Championships.
The women were spurred on by a pair of impressive performances by junior Elaina Balouris and freshman Emily Stites. Balouris, an All-American, crossed the stripe in 20 minutes, 37.12 seconds for a seventh-place finish, making her the third woman in program history to record three NCAA All-Region honors. Stites, meanwhile, turned in a 10th-place finish, in the process becoming the highest-finishing rookie in program history.
While Balaoris and Stites shined for the College, the automatic bid was secured by the Tribe’s depth as five Tribe runners finished in 33rd-48th place. That consistency allowed the College to capture second place, much like the reliability that allowed the Tribe to claim the CAA title two weeks ago.
Junior Clarissa Schick led the group, finishing in 33rd with a time of 21:31.62. Schick was closely followed by junior Michelle Britto in 21:33.36 in 37th and freshman Meghan McGovern in 21:34.03 in 39th. Junior Lanie Smith and sophomore Jess Cygan rounded out the Tribe effort by securing 45th and 48th, respectively.
On the men’s side, junior John Muller followed McGrath and Hardin across the finish line. Muller’s time of 31:17.96 allowed him to secure 49th place. Redshirt sophomore Joshua Mercado finished in 31:50.39 for a 74th-place finish and graduate student Joe LoRusso crossed the line in 105th place in 32:33.40. Freshman Ryan Gousse finished in 109th and sophomore Rad Gunzenhauser rounded out the College’s lineup with a 126th finish.
The men will round out their season Friday when they travel to Bronx, N.Y. for the IC4A Championships. The women, meanwhile, will chase history at the NCAA Championships in Louisville, beginning Friday.