September 29, 2012 -- Willamette & Dan Cathcart Invitationals (from CNUsports.com)

posted Sep 30, 2012, 2:23 PM by Tyler Wingard
CNU at Willamette Invitational

CNU Cross Country Squads Finish Strong with Outstanding Efforts
at the Willamette Invitational

11 of the 14 Captains posted personal-best efforts during the prestigious competition


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9/29/2012 6:31:00 PM
Willamette Invitational Results

SALEM, Ore. –
In the largest college-only meet on the west coast, the Christopher Newport cross country teams acquitted themselves nicely as the Captains exceeded expectations while piecing together an outstanding effort at the 38th Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational at Bush's Pasture Park on Saturday.

During the national meet, 11 Captains posted personal records to highlight an outstanding day on the course. Highlighted by those efforts, the men and women both placed fourth among Division III squads at the prestigious competition.

“For 11 of our 14 runners to PR and two more to be right there, it was more than you can ask for,” said head coach Matthew Barreau. “It's what you plan for, but it's not what you expect to happen. We really ran well, but by no means did we run out of the park. We know we have something left, and everyone is excited about that. We know we can do even better, and that's a great thing going forward.”

Lydia Cromwell, who earned USA South Rookie of the Week honors after her last performance, pieced together another sensational effort in the women's 5k. Not only did she cut 50 seconds off her previous best, but her time of 18:57.92 marked the fifth finest effort in CNU history. Overall, she placed 29th in the field and sixth among D3 entrants.

On the men's side, Ray Gamache finished 13th overall and posted the second-best time among D3 competitors after crossing the line in 25:27.89. That effort lopped over five seconds off his personal-best time, placing him eighth on the program's all-time list.

“Overall, I think we placed in the right spot on the Division III side of things,” said Barreau. “On the men's side, we beat three teams ranked in the West Region, including two that went to nationals last year. And the women were only beaten by three teams, who were all ranked in the West. That's a great accomplishment, because the west region is much deeper than ours in the southeast.”

Although Gamache's performance was the highlight of the meet on the men's side, several other Captains were exceptional. Aaron Zook also earned a top-50 finish after coming in 46th with a time of 26:20.11. Two-time USA South Freshman of the Week Josh Showalter continued his outstanding debut season as well, placing 65th overall after crossing the line in 26:40.56. Both of those times were also top-30 performances among Division III competitors.

In the Cardinal race, which featured 170 collegiate runners, three other Captains placed in the top-100. Donovan Lewin completed the course in 26:55.43, which was 76th overall. Michael Hoy and Daniel Austin also finished strong, placing 92nd and 94th, respectively.

On the women's side, Cromwell's performance was one of several strong showings by the Captains. Alexa Tabackman finished 55th overall after clocking in at 19:14.18, while Karen Bumiller was close behind in 68th with a time of 19:25.79. Both of those efforts were among the top-25 in Division III during the meet.

“We would have been right there with Willamette, but we left a lot of points on the course when our top runner had a rough day,” said Barreau. “But, the good is that everyone else stepped up. They really rose to the occasion. With all of the freshmen on the team, we're still in the learning stage. But, we know our heads are in the right spot if something goes wrong. We have others that can step up.”

Two other Captains placed in the top-100 overall as Eliza Eaton and Erin Rolaf crossed in 81st and 83rd, respectively. Melissa Rizor finished in the top half of the field as well after crossing in 19:52.59, which was good enough for 103rd overall. Freshman Graciela Slyer also posted a time of 20:40.73, which cut 40 seconds off her previous best, while Jessica McClelland cruised to a time of 21:55.52.

“I was very proud of how the team handled this trip to Oregon,” said Barreau. “We've already had two races, but this was the first one we marked on our calendar as part of the championship season. This was the first one where we were competing against national teams, and we handled it well. All of our races from here on out are big for us, but we got off to a good start with this one.”

Corts & Turner Lead Captains in Salisbury


Salisbury, Md. - On the other side of the country, other members of the CNU cross country teams hit the course at the Don Cathcart Invitational at Salisbury. The men placed ninth overall in a field of 14 teams, while the women did not compile a team score but picked up a slew of strong performances from their four competitors.

Deanna Corts was the top finisher for the Captains after placing 19th on the women's side. Overall, she completed the 6k course in 23:40. On the men's side, Bradley Turner posted the team's top time with a 27:24 mark, which placed him 39th overall. He was followed closely by Samuel Martin, who completed the 8k event in 27:35, which was good enough for 45th place.

“Deanna was under 19:50 for 5k, which made her one of seven to do that for us,” said Barreau. “Last year, we could only say that about two runners. Shelby and Taylor ran really well for us, too. On the men's side, Sam and Brad were hoping for a little better, but they were put in a position to lead the team, which was new to them. I think they handled it very well. They all represented our team really well today.”

In addition to the top finishers, Shelby Locke crossed the line in 59th with a time of 25:25, while Taylor Cline was right on her heels with a 25:36 showing. Emily Whitby rounded out the group, finishing 95th overall with a time of 28:28.

On the men's side, Scott Wright finished third on the team after completing the course in 27:57, while Zach Winne and Andrew Larkin rounded out CNU's top-five to lead the squad to the ninth-place showing. Overall, the group averaged 28:03.40 during the meet.

Christopher Newport will return to action in two weeks when the squad hosts the CNU Invitational at Lee Hall Mansion on October 13.