Heading in to Fall Break, the Captains took a quick trip up to William & Mary's home course on the grounds of Eastern State Hospital. Lofton and Rolaf turned in outstanding races on the hilly course.
Lofton, Rolaf Lead Captains At William & Mary
Lofton Joins Sub-26 Club
USA South Honors Lofton's Breakthrough
With host William & Mary's "A" squads racing at the Pre-National meet in Indiana, the W&M Open was a low-key affair. No official team scores were kept and the field was relatively small, but the Captains all had challengers to race.
In his third race of the season, junior Corey Lofton (Vienna, VA) finally felt "back" and put together an outstanding race. Locked in with a pair of local post-collegiate runners, Loftonkept the pressure on for all four laps around the Eastern State Hospital campus. While his elder competitors held him off at the finish line, the junior stopped the watch at 25:58 for his first time under 26 minutes on an 8k course -- and this one had been running slow in previous meets. He is the 15th Captain to break that barrier and his effort was recognized by the USA South Conference with his selection as the Runner of the Week.
Behind Lofton, fellow juniors William Kirk (Mechanicsville, VA), Joshua Bowling(Crewe, VA), and Scott Teribury (Woodbridge, VA) helped each other to one of their best performances. Kirk led the charge by doing just that at nearly every opportunity, attacking the many hills on the 2k loop course. Teribury could not quite match his pace, but kept him in sight. Bowling started a little more conservatively before leaving one pack of Captains to catch and pass Teribury and brining Kirk in to range. Kirk finished in 27:13 followed byBowling (27:24 - just one second slower than his run on the lightning-fast Salisbury course) and Teribury (27:35).
Bowling, McCracken, & Johnson Rolling Early
The next pack of Captains started streaming in about 20 seconds later. Senior Franklin McCracken (Richmond, VA) turned in one of, if not the, best races in his career (27:54).Matthew Winkler (Palmyra, VA) (28:11), Andrew Johnson (Gainesville, VA) (28:15), and Patrick Cunningham (Williamsburg, VA) (28:17) were the next three finishers in the race. Freshman Douglas McLellan (Columbia, MD), like Bowling, finished in nearly the same time as he ran on the flatter course two weeks ago (29:34).
When the USTFCCCA Regional Rankings came out, the Captain's found themselves holding steady at #6 for another week.
Rolaf Romps To Third Rookie Recognition
With a few notable exceptions, the women's squad struggled. Illness sent Jade Zaharoff(Vienna, VA) home early for CNU's Fall Break and mid-week rain followed by sunny skies on race day helped release a host of allergens from the long grasses lining the course, pushingDira Hansen (Culpeper, VA) and Karen Bumiller (Burke, VA) in to fits of respiratory distress.
Such things, however, were not going to keep frosh Erin Rolaf (Woodbridge, VA) from yet another outstanding performance. She ran a very well-measured race, latching on to a group from William & Mary, Richmond, and James Madison and finishing 18th in 24:08. For the third time in as many races, the USA South Conference deemed her performance best of the freshman class for the week.
Fast downhill start at William & Mary Open
Dira Hansen and newcomer Christine Rogers (Springfield, VA) rolled out to an aggressive start. Hansen's legs felt great, but not her lungs and she slipped back through the field to finish 25th (24:53). Rogers was making her Cross Country debut and after her quick start she showed a lot of fight, finishing in 25:04 on the challenging course. Michelle Stauffer(Fort Valley, VA) (26:17) and Jessica McClelland (Stafford, VA) (26:22) rounded out the Captains' top five.
Not surprisingly, the women slipped in the South/Southeast Region Rankings to #6. The long weekend for Fall Break should be more than enough, however, to get the squad back on track for the upcoming Championships. Before that, however, the Captains head to Mount Olive College for a Friday meet -- a final tune-up for some and for several of the men's squad, their season finale.
For complete CNU Results, check out the Results Page