The Jayhawks from Johns Hopkins University brought National Power to the 2nd Annual CNU XC Invitational at Lee Hall Mansion. Their women are defending Div. III National Champions and their men are also ranked as one of the top teams in the country. York College - two-time defending men's CAC Champions also lined up for a preview of the conference clash two weeks ahead. While JHU ran away with both races, the women had a tight battle with York and region challengers Washington & Lee and got the best of both rivals. The men held off the upstart Generals of W&L but fell just short of York (6 points) with team front-runner Andrew Benfer pulling up mid-race. Six men and two women posted course or distance best. After the races, the team left for a Fall Break camping trip to help the team take a deep breath before the stretch run through the Conference and Region Championships.
From Sam Martin:
Last Saturday at our home invite, we found ourselves at a bit of a crossroads. Saturday marked the end of the so-called “regular season” and the beginning of the postseason. Team camp loomed on the horizon and the meet was hyped as a “statement” meet. With all those thoughts swirling in our heads it would have been easy to tank the race, but our philosophy is to win the day, to focus on what we do on any given day and not to worry about tomorrow. We don’t just go through the motions.
Pretty much the entire team would be racing together for the first time since the Hampden-Sydney meet and so the excitement and nervous energy in the air was palpable. The women set the tone with a tight pack up front in the 6k race. Warming up with the 8k men, it was a confidence booster to see Emmie, Briana, and Lydia finishing boom-boom-boom, one right after the other. The men faced some adversity with Benfer dropping out, unbeknownst to those racing, but we responded as a group and concluded the day with a number of personal bests. Coach Barreau kept asking us to move our pack up in the race and we succeeded in doing that. It wasn’t the tight pack from Williams, but we took risks and made a statement. The 3k provided opportunity for some to make individual statements of their own, for the more track-inclined to race without dreading 5 miles of pain, and for those already done to get a kick out of watching Coach Barreau race and all the men trying to hold him off.
Team Camp at James River State Park was a blast. From setting up camp by car headlights on Saturday night to our version of a Tour de France mountain stage on Tuesday, we bonded as a team, laughing, creating memories to cherish, and enjoying “Family Time” with little to no cell coverage. Highlights included a pit stop at the Tye River Scenic Overlook on Sunday’s long run, an excursion to a pumpkin patch and corn maze Sunday afternoon, lunch and jumping off Panther Falls (some not jumping, others jumping only once, and the crazies jumping between two and ten times) and the hilarious Survivor-like challenge of standing in front of a raging fire for a long as possible while shirtless on Monday, and the infamous, thigh-bursting 4.7 mile mountain ascent on Tuesday to cap off an outstanding weekend.
Refreshed, we look to continue winning the day each and every day, knowing that there are still goals to accomplish and a journey to finish and there is no group I’d rather finish this journey with than my CNU XC family.
Rockville, MD (Richard Montgomery HS)
HS 5k XC Best - 15:58.88 (Montgomery County XC Championships)
CNU #5 All-Time Indoor 800m - 1:55.61
CNU #2 All-Time Outdoor 1500m - 3:54.20
Mason-Dixon Conference Outdoor 1500m Champion (2013)
USATF Jr. Nationals Qualifier - 1500m (2012 Outdoor)
Women Place Second, Men Third as the Captains Excel During the CNU Cross Country Invitational
Captains Host CNU Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at Lee Hall Mansion