The Captains had their first chance to race as complete teams over their full distances on Salisbury's home course at Winter Place Park. The course is notoriously fast (and the women's course is a bit short). With competitive fields, the stage was set for some outstanding performances by the runners in royal.
Winter Place Park in Salisbury, Maryland features a figure-8 course with a mile loop around the open fields and ponds and another mile loop through the woods. The flat course, good footing, and layout generally lead to fast times and the Captains took advantage in their first full-squad, full-distance meet of the 2011 season.
Jade Zaharoff - Top-10 Finish
The women got the first gun and the trio of Jade Zaharoff (Vienna, VA), Julie Machamer (Norfolk, VA), and Jessica McClelland (Stafford, VA) all got out with the lead group while the rest of the squad found themselves pinched towards the back of the field at the course's first choke point. Zaharoff continued on with the leaders heading in to the woods loop while Machamer and McClelland settled in to rhythm together with the next pack. Freshman Sarah Russell (Manassas, VA) had started her move forward through the field by the mile mark with Ashley Doerner (Fairfax Station, VA) pulling the rest of the squad through the middle of the race.
After leaving the woods and making another lap of the park's open space, the women's course doubled back on itself for an inner loop to the finish. Zaharoff closed well enough to grab a 9th place finish in 22:43 - 8 seconds faster than last year and with an adjustment for the course's missing meters, equivalent to a 23:13 over a full 6,000m. That improves her standing on CNU's Sub-24minute Club List. Machamer pulled away from McClelland over the final loop and just missed earning Club membership with her 24th place finish (23:31 - equivalent to 24:01). McClelland arrived at the finish 11 seconds later in 29th and her 23:42 was 1:17 faster than her time last year. Russell moved up to 58th place in 24:52 and fellow frosh Brittney House (Midlothian, VA) made a big move in the final kilometer to finish #5 for the Captains in 77th place (26:04). Doerner finished up in 87th (26:35) with Emily Whitby (Alexandria, VA) closing quickly. Her 26:43 was 24 seconds faster than her previous best on the course. Enuma Ezenwa's (Herndon, VA) 26:45 outpaced her best high school 5k efforts.
The bulk of the men's squad managed the early narrowing of the course well and each of the two dozen Captains were in good position for the first open loop of the course. At the mile mark, Raymond Gamache (King George, VA) and Corey Lofton (Vienna, VA) were cruising with the leaders. Entering in to the woods, the Navy pack upped the ante significantly and stretched the pack in to a hard-working line. Gamache hung in with the front half of the stream while Lofton fought to stay attached to the back of the group.
The rest of the Captains clustered in to their own packs to help carry each other through the middle miles of the race with a few exchanging between the front two groups in royal.
Gamache slipped back from the front-most string, but held off the first chase pack to arrive at the finish in 15th place. His 25:36 ranks 8th in the Sub-26minute Club for the Captains and was 43 seconds faster than his All-Region finish on Rhodes College's short course. Lofton also finished in a best-ever time - his 25:53 for 25th place was 17 seconds faster than last year and was his second time under the 26 minute barrier.
It took a little over a minute for the next Captain to arrive, but Patrick Cunningham (Williamsburg, VA) (39th, 27:02) brought two teammates across the line with the same time: Aaron Zook (Harrisonburg, VA) (40th) and Bradley Turner (Williamsburg, VA) (41st). For Zook, it was his fastest 8k by a minute and Turner ran over two minutes faster than his pace at Dickinson two weeks prior. The next wave of royal was not far behind as Christopher Lyford (Leesburg, VA) (27:11), Donovan Lewin (Cape Charles, VA) (27:15 - 1:25 faster than Dickinson), Scott Teribury (Woodbridge, VA) (27:16), and Samuel Martin (Rockville, MD) (27:19 - same as his 4k pace at Dickinson) all finished in the top 50.
Several of the remaining CNU finishers showed a big improvement over their Dickinson performances, too, including Daniel Austin (Culpeper, VA), who's 27:37 was also his fastest 8k by 1:30; Scott Wright (Oak Hill, VA), who finished 1:08 faster than last year at Salisbury (28:30); and Eric Ginsburg (Loch Arbour, NJ) at 29:00 - three minutes faster than at Dickinson.
The women's team finished in 7th place with two of their usual top-5 not racing. The men wound up 14 points shy of Salisbury for 4th and they, too, were without two top-5 teammates.
The USA-South Conference recognized Raymond Gamache as the men's Runner of the Week and both Brad Turner and Julie Machamer earned Rookie of the Week honors for their performances.
With the loss of the originally-scheduled Mount Olive College Invitational off the calendar due to a date change, the Captains will keep the squads together for the William & Mary Open on October 15th.
For complete CNU Results, check out the Results Page