Cross country: Tribe sweeps CAA Championships

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COURTESY IMAGE / Tribe Athletics

William and Mary once again swept the titles at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships held Friday in Farmingdale, New York. The men won their 19th straight conference title by topping second-place Northeastern, 48-37. The women bounced back from last year’s loss to narrowly beat Elon, 65-63, for their sixth conference title in the past seven years. Last year’s champion, James Madison, finished fifth with a total of 111 points.

“Northeastern had us beat at three miles, and they ran a great race; hats off to them, they did a phenomenal job,” head coach Forest Braden said to CAASports.com following the men’s race. “We did a really nice job in the last mile and a half to make sure we took home the victory.”

Senior Ryan McGorty finished runner-up at the CAAs for the second year in a row, running 24:01 over the 8-Kilometer course. Hofstra’s Alex Masai captured the individual title in 24:00.7. A trio of Tribe underclassmen finished 7-8-9 — redshirt-freshman Micah Pratt (24:20), sophomore Spencer Tsai (24:27) and redshirt freshman Patrick Lynch (24:34) — to establish control of the team race. Freshman Zachary Levet rounded out the scoring in 24:41 with his 11th place finish, cementing the Tribe’s 19th straight CAA title.

“It means a lot to have this streak,” McGorty said to CAASports.com. “It’s never easy, but we know that it’s something we have to uphold for everyone that has [run for] William and Mary.”

Sophomore Lauren Finikiotis led the charge for the women with her third-place finish, covering the 6-Kilometer course in 21:20. Sophomore Lauren Kroepfl and junior Charlotte Kowalk finished sixth and seventh in 21:29 and 21:33, respectively. Redshirt sophomore Lix Paxton clocked 21:57 to finish 17th, and junior Karina Tavares placed 30th in 22:19 to ensure a Tribe victory. Elon’s Coralea Geraniotis won the women’s individual title with a time of 21:13.

“We’ve done a lot with our team culture this year to really help us be in this position, to get our CAA championship back,” Finikiotis told CAASports.com. “And it’s just an amazing feeling.”

Braden was quick to credit assistant coach Scott Jones and the women for bringing the CAA title back to Williamsburg.

“Scott Jones has done an amazing job with the women,” Braden said. “99 percent of everything they do, he’s in charge of. The athletes are the ones out there racing and making it happen, so great job to Coach Jones and great job to the ladies squad.”

The Tribe continues its post-season two weeks from now in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Southeast Regional Championships, hosted by Winthrop University, are slated for Friday, Nov. 9.