Cross country: Tribe women, men defend crowns as Rome takes individual title

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October 31, 2016

11:22 PM

William and Mary swept the team titles in commanding fashion at Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association Cross-Country Championships. The women, sparked by junior Regan Rome’s first individual CAA cross country title, won their fifth straight conference crown by recording a score of 34 points. James Madison, led by individual runner-up Carol Strock, finished second in the team standings with 47 points. The men captured their 17th consecutive victory by scoring 26 points to best runner-up Northeastern’s 46.

In the women’s 6,000-meter race, Rome ran with the front pack early to push her teammates for the first half of the race. The junior then broke away and dominated the final three kilometers to win in 21 minutes 12 seconds. Fellow juniors Molly Breidenbaugh (21:33), Molly McKenna (21:46) and Molly Applegate (22:01) finished fourth, fifth, and seventh, respectively. Redshirt freshman Kathryn Eng secured the CAA title for the Tribe with her 17th place finish in 22:31.78.

Elon (66), Northeastern (120), Towson (123), Delaware (161), Charleston (167), Hofstra (246), and North Carolina-Wilmington (277) followed the Tribe and the Dukes in the team standings.

“So today the goal was to get to see a team title and get the individual title also. So just pack up through 3K with my team and then kinda just roll off from there,” Rome said to CAASports.com. “It was a difficult course, but I think we handled it well.

“So today the goal was to get to see a team title and get the individual title also. So just pack up through 3K with my team and then kinda just roll off from there,” Rome said to CAASports.com. “It was a difficult course, but I think we handled it well. We got fourth, fifth, and seventh, so it was a good day for the Tribe, and we’re ready for regionals now.”

Both the men and the women race at the Southeast Region Championships Nov. 11 in Charlottesville. Head women’s coach Natalie Hall was pleased with her team’s performance Saturday and stressed that the focus is now on NCAA regionals in two weeks.

“We wanted to win again,” Hall said. “It’s kind of getting to where there’s a little bit of pressure now to keep the streak going. But the girls stayed really composed and handled it well. [It’s] definitely a challenging course, so maybe the times weren’t stellar. But they competed well, they won some good battles along the way. And so really we’re just focused on two weeks from now, tapering from here a little bit. And on the day, doing exactly what we’re capable of.”

In the men’s 8,000-meter race, a cluster of white William and Mary jerseys made up a majority of the front pack from the start. It would remain that way across the finish line. The Tribe had all five scoring runners finish in the top eight on its way to comfortably winning its 17th consecutive conference championship. Only Iona of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference has a longer active conference win streak at 26.

“[We’ve come] here the last 16  years and pull[ed] off the team victory,” head coach Chris Solinsky said to CAASports.com. “So the message last night was let’s keep the streak going. We’ve done it 16 times, no need to stop there.

“[We’ve come] here the last 16  years and pull[ed] off the team victory,” head coach Chris Solinsky said to CAASports.com. “So the message last night was let’s keep the streak going. We’ve done it 16 times, no need to stop there. It’s the second longest streak in the NCAA now and we take a lot of pride in that. You know, obviously, you always come in here trying to get top individual as well as top team. But I told the guys, no matter what, make sure we secure that team title. And they did a really excellent job today.”

Redshirt junior David Barney finished third overall in 25:23 with three teammates hot on his heels. Dawson Connell had a stellar run to place fourth in 25:26, and seniors Faris Sakallah (25:28) and Trevor Sleight (25:30) finished in fifth and sixth place. Sophomore Ryan McGorty rounded out the scoring for the Tribe with his eighth place finish in 25:39. Senior Cavendar Salvadori (25:46) and junior Chris Hoyle (25:47) finished in 10th and 11th place.

Elon’s Nick Ciolowski defended his individual crown, covering the challenging course at White Clay Creek State Park in 25:08.

Elon (84), Charleston (123), UNC-Wimlington (143), and Hofstra (145) finished well behind the Tribe and the Huskies in the team race.

“It’s a very special program,” Solinsky said. “William and Mary is a small school. We take a lot of pride in our distance running. And, you know, we try to be as consistent as possible. Like I mentioned the streak earlier, the streak for us is a big point of pride. And we’re really excited about what the future holds, but the group of guys right now are doing a really good job.”

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