10/27/2012 10:45:00 PM
PLEASANT GARDEN, N.C. -- Highlighted by a second-place showing from freshman Melissa Rizor, the Christopher Newport women's cross country team captured its 14th USA South Title in the last 15 years as the Captains cruised to the championship on Saturday afternoon at Hagan Stone Park.
During the competition, Rizor led a group of seven Captains who finished in the top-10 at the conference meet. Guided by those efforts, CNU posted a score of 26, which far out-paced the other six squads in the field.
“The most exciting thing about today was the continuation of the growth of our pack,” said Barreau. “We had only a 45-second gap from our top runner to our sixth runner, and that is the best we've had it all year. That is coming together at the right time. These women are gaining so much strength from each other, and the tighter we keep that pack, the stronger they'll be.”
Continuing her sensational freshman campaign, Rizor completed the 6k course in 24:14.57. Erin Rolaf was just behind her teammate, crossing the line in third with a time of 24:19.06. The junior standout, who will graduate early after piecing together equally successful efforts in the classroom, capped off her conference career in style.
“Erin ran her final Conference XC Meet today, and I am so proud of how she went out,” said Barreau. “She's now placed 2nd, 4th, and 3rd in her three years at this meet.”
In addition to the team's top-two competitors, Christopher Newport had a slew of strong efforts from the rest of the squad. Alexa Tabackman eased into a sixth-place finish in 24:51.11, while Jessica McClelland crossed just five seconds later in seventh.
“Melissa and Jess, especially, had very solid days today,” said Barreau. “Both have been showing things in training that just hadn't translated to their races yet. It was great to see them run well today.”
Rounding out the team's top-10 finishers, freshman Eliza Eaton came in eighth with a time of 24:58.49, while Deanna Corts and USA South Rookie of the Year Lydia Cromwell finish ninth and 10th, respectively. Shelby Locke also earned All-Conference honors for her performance, placing 15th overall with a time of 26:35.02.
In addition to the award winners, Julie Machamer finished 24th, Graciela Slyer came in 32nd, and Emily Whitby crossed in 38th.
With the conference season wrapped up, Christopher Newport will now focus on the NCAA Regional Meet, which will take place at Nash Farm Battlefield in Hampton, Georgia on November 10.