10/27/2012 10:51:00 PM
PLEASANT GARDEN, N.C. – In a spectacular performance at the USA South Championships, the Christopher Newport men's cross country squad continued its conference dominance as the Captains ran away with their 20th straight team title at Hagan Stone Park on Saturday afternoon.
Ray Gamache headlined a clean sweep on the men's side as the senior standout captured the individual crown for the second straight season after completing the 8k in 26:26.60. Leading the team to its 20th straight league title, he was followed closely by five of his teammates as CNU posted a perfect score of 15 for the seventh time in program history.
“We have had a great run in the USA South, and today we finished it off the right way,” said head coach Matthew Barreau. “I couldn't have written a better script than for our men to perfect score the meet as we earned CNU's 20th straight Conference Title. What an honor to be a part of such a streak.”
In the race, Gamache led the way after beating the rest of the field by 35 seconds to win his second straight title. Although their senior leader shined at the front of the pack, the Captains were solid all the way through. Donovan Lewin finished second in the 8k after crossing in 27:01.62 before USA South Rookie of the Year Josh Showalter completed the course in third with a time of 27:36.07.
Not satisfied by simply sweeping the top three spots, three more Captains rounded out the top-six. Michael Hoy led that group with a time of 27:57.80, while Bradley Turner was just a split second behind in fourth. Daniel Austin rounded out the top CNU performers, closing strong in sixth.
“All 12 of our men finished in the top-15 today,” said Barreau. “We had some very notable performances up front, as Ray defended his individual title, and Van, Brad, and Hoy probably ran the best races I've seen them run here.”
In addition to the top-six runners, Christopher Newport had strong efforts from its entire team. Samuel Martin and Scott Wright both notched top-10 efforts after finishing eighth and ninth, respectively, while Brian Huffman just missed out after crossing in 11th with a time of 29:25.44.
“Brian has meant a great deal to this program,” said Barreau. “As a mid-distance specialist on the track, his commitment to the cross country season is great to see. And today it paid off as he earned All-Conference honors in his first-ever XC Conference Meet.”
Also earning All-Conference honors were Zach Winne and Christopher Allen, who completed the meet in 12th and 13th, respectively. Allen's effort was especially inspiring as the senior from Reston, Virginia battled back from a pair of injuries to make his presence felt at the USA South Championships.
“Last year I held Chris out of the Conference and Regional Meets, and he handled that with class,” said Barreau. “Then, in the spring, he made some terrific breakthroughs and actually led our team in the 5k on the track before a freak stress fracture in the middle of an easy run. After a lot of patience, he came back this fall in even better shape. Then, another injury setback. One of his main goals this year was just to make a “Championship” meet, as he had yet to be a part of one while here at CNU. While he is still in the process of healing, we progressed him to be healthy enough to have the opportunity to run today. Also earning All-Conference honors, I was very happy to be able to get him the chance to fulfill that part of his goals for the fall.”
Rounding out the CNU contingent was Eric Ginsburg, who capped off Christopher Newport's spectacular showing with a 15th-place effort. Although his performance was just seconds off of an All-Conference time, Ginsburg's run left Barreau duly impressed.
“Our goal all year has been to put the 12 runners we raced at Conference in the top-14 to earn All-Conference honors,” said Barreau. “We came up just six seconds shy of that today. Eric hasn't been one of our top-12 fastest all year, but his dedication to our program and our mission earned him the opportunity to represent us today. While we could have perhaps lined up people differently and guaranteed ourselves those honors, I would not trade the effort that Eric gave today for anything. His effort today was truly inspiring.”
With another conference title in the bag, Christopher Newport will now set its sights on the regional meet. Held at Nash Farm Battlefield in Hampton, Georgia, the competition will take place on November 10.