August 31, 2012 -- CNU/VWC XC Opener (from CNUsports.com)

posted Sep 15, 2012, 10:54 AM by Tyler Wingard   [ updated Sep 15, 2012, 10:59 AM ]

CNU Opener

CNU Cross Country Squads Excel in First Meet of 2012

The Captains post a pair of victories, while Ray Gamache takes the individual title on the men's side


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9/1/2012 12:31:00 AM
Complete Meet Results // CNU-Only Meet Results

Men's 6k Video Highlights // Women's 5k Video Highlights

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -
The Christopher Newport University cross country squads pieced together an excellent showing at Bells Mill Park as the Captains kicked off the 2012 season with a pair of victories during the CNU/VWC Opener on Friday evening.

During the season opener, both squads outpaced the competition by a wide margin. The men, who swept the top-four spots during the 6k meet, posted a score of 17, which was well ahead of Ohio Valley's 52 mark. In the women's 5k, CNU collected 22 points, while Virginia Wesleyan came in second with 56.

"This was a terrific start," said head coach Matthew Barreau. "There are a couple meets we looked at on our schedule and knew we were expected to win, but it doesn't change our expectations to give a great effort. We don't have as many competitions as other sports, so it's crucial for us to make every one count. That definitely happened today. It was a great start to the year."

The men were simply amazing during the competition as senior Ray Gamache captured the individual title with a time of 20:24.36, while three of his teammates clocked in right behind him. Following the reigning USA South Champion, freshman Josh Showalter kicked off his career with a second-place showing after finishing in 20:24.92. Donovan Lewin and Christopher Allen were up next, finishing in 20:31.44 and 20:33.21, respectively.

"That may have been the best I have seen our men compete overall since I've been here," said Barreau. "Our top-four really set the tone, and we were really strong through our sixth runner today. Ray Gamache, Josh Showalter, Van Lewin, and Chris Allen going 1-2-3-4 in the race was exciting to see, especially since Lewin and Allen had to battle past two guys in the last half mile to do it."

In addition to the top-four finishers, CNU also placed four other runners in the top-10. Aaron Zook finished seventh in 21:03.56, while Daniel Austin, Chris Arslan, and Michael Hoy rounded out the top competitors for the Captains.

On average, Christopher Newport posted a time of 20:35.50, which was over a minute faster than the next closest squad.

For the women, CNU was led by its sensational freshman class. First-year standout Melissa Rizor led the way with a second-place effort after clocking in at 19:56.78. Three of her fellow classmates rounded out the top-five as Lydia Cromwell (20:02.42), Eliza Eaton (20:41.32), and Alexa Tabackman (20:50.24) all made outstanding debuts. Graciela Slyer was right there as well, placing eighth after completing the course in 21:04.71.

"I was really proud of our women today," said Barreau. "We have a lot of youth, but they ran more like veterans today. It was a terrific start to their careers here at CNU. Five freshmen led the way for us today with Melissa Rizor, Lydia Cromwell, Eliza Eaton, Alexa Tabackman, and Graciela Slyer going 2-3-4-5-8. Karen Bumiller also ran a really solid race today."

Bumiller led the veteran portion of the squad, placing ninth in 21:08.92. The senior was followed closely by a slew of Captains as Deanna Corts, Jessica McClelland, and Erin Rolaf placed 10th, 11th, and 12th.

Overall, the CNU women posted an average time of 20:31.09, which was over a minute faster than Virginia Wesleyan and Mary Baldwin, who placed second and third, respectively.

"I'm definitely proud of this group," said Barreau. "They've set very high goals for themselves, and they showed today that they are on the right track. We have to keep focused and keep working to improve ourselves because we have a long way to go. But this was the start we needed."

The CNU cross country teams will return to action on September 15 when the Captains trek north to Williamsburg for the William & Mary Invitational.