The Dickinson Long/Short Invitational features a championship distance race and a 4k race for the men and the women. Scores are kept for each distance (3-person team) and for the combined total.
The Dickinson Invitational offers a unique early-season team experience -- a full distance 6k race and a short-course 4k race. The team scoring is based on the top three finishers in each race (with #4 and #5 positions displacing other team's finishers) and a Combined Score trophy is awarded to the team with the lowest total from the two races. With a young squad, the Captains only entered four in the long race with the rest contesting the 4k.
USA South Rookie of the Week
Both races were stacked with some of the top teams in Divsion II & III Cross Country filling the fields. In the long race, junior Jade Zaharoff (Vienna, VA) got out very well and, as instructed, was in sight of the leaders at the mile mark then battled through the rest of the course's rolling terrain. While she was not satisfied with the middle portion of her race, she crossed the line in 39th place in her second fastest 6k time (24:56). Number 2 for the Captains was sophomore Karen Bumiller (Burke, VA). After getting caught up in the crowd at the start, she worked her way forward through the field and demonstrated her usual steady build throughout the race. Her 26:05 was a 6k best and left her in 67th place.
The lone rookie running the long course for CNU was Jessica McClelland (Stafford, VA). Her instructions were to lock in with Bumiller. Bumiller's slow start left the freshman on her own through the first mile and McClelland was not quite able to sustain her elder's increasing pace over the final loops of the course. She finished in 94th place at 27:29. Emily Whitby (Alexandria, VA) posted her second fastest 6k time with a 29:36.
As did Zaharoff in the 6k, Dira Hansen (Culpeper, VA) posted a strong first mile to stay in range of the leaders. With Division II Indoor & Outdoor 5k National Champion Neely Spence of Shippensburg stretching out the lead pack, Hansen held tough and finished 19th (15:27). Frosh Erin Rolaf (Woodbridge, VA) made her collegiate debut and showed a lot of poise with a very steady race. She was the 10th freshman finisher and 45th over all (16:04) -- a performance worthy of Rookie of the Week honors from the USA South Conference office.
Michelle Stauffer (Fort Valley, VA) completed the scoring for the Captains in 84th (16:54) with Marie Albiges (Oley, PA) close behind in her first collegiate race (89th place/17:03).
With 124 team points in the 4k race (13th) and 170 in the 6k race (18th), the Captain's combined for 11th over all. Without Laurie Murphy's (Louisa, VA) help in the races, the Captains slipped two notches in the Regional Rankings to #6.
Lofton Returns In 4k, Cunningham Fronts 8k
The men's short-course race offered team's mid-distance minded members a welcome test and gave team leader Corey Lofton (Vienna, VA) an opportunity to ease back in to competition after missing the 2010 Track & Field seasons. Restricted to mostly cross-training, Lofton's general fitness was enough to keep him in sight of the race leaders and finish a very respectable 29th (12:48).
800m specialist Jeffrey Ball (Chesapeake, VA) turned in a strong effort and started to show the return of his XC legs finishing second for the Captains (60th place/13:22). He held off the final charge from Scott Teribury (Woodbridge, VA) who worked hard through the second half of the race to make up for a slow start (61st place/13:24). Like Lofton, Daniel Austin (Culpeper, VA) raced on mostly cross-training fitness, but kept in contact with Teribury and chased to a 13:38 finish.
Following Lyford at a slightly more conservative early pace, Raymond Gamache (King George, VA), Joshua Bowling (Crewe, VA), and Patrick Cunningham (Williamsburg, VA) were all in good position at the first mile marker. Cunningham found a rhythm to his liking and slipped past all four of his teammates. Gamache took an untimely fall as the freshman moved by him and could not quite re-connect. Cunningham continued to move through the field and ended up finishing 31st (6th freshman) in 27:41. Gamache fought back to hold 41st (27:53) with Bowling right behind (43rd place/27:56). For Gamache, the time represented a two minute improvement over his best times in 2009 and Bowling's time converts to a lifetime best by over a minute. William Kirk (Mechanicsville, VA) churned through the course in 28:44 -- slightly faster than his all-time best. Franklin (Mac) McCracken's (Richmond, VA) 29:09 equates to his first sub-29 8k.
The Captain's finished in the top-10 in both races -- 8th in the 8.1k (108 points) and 10th in the 4k (134 points). Their combined score ranked 7th out of the 18 teams fielding squads in both races. The pollsters rewarded the men's efforts with a bump up to #6 in the South/Southeast Region Rankings.
Next on the schedule for the Captains is the Dan Cathcart Invitational on Salisbury's very fast home course. The men will race first at 9:45am on October 2.
For complete CNU Results, check out the Results Page