November 16, 2013 - NCAA S/SE Region XC Championships & Insight from Brad Turner (Jr. - Williamsburg, VA)
Post date: Nov 22, 2013 7:01:05 PM
Lee Hall Mansion was the backdrop for the 2013 South/Southeast Region Championships and the course received rave reviews from the visiting coaches and competitors. Both course records were shattered in what the veteran coaches called the strongest S/SE field in memory. As a team, the women struggled for the first time in 2013, but found individual victories in three course-best times, two of which were all-time 6k bests for sophomore Alexa Tabackman (McClean, VA) and senior Jessica McClelland (Stafford, VA). McClelland's performance was her 6k best by 30 seconds and a course best by 90 seconds. at 23:06.88, she finished 18th over-all. The men held together a bit better as a team and finished 4th - their highest finish in a decade. Four Captains raced to 8k bests and another added a course best. Senior Aaron Zook (Harrisonburg, VA) and frosh JJ LaPointe (Arlington, VA) just missed joining the sub-26 club (26:02.91 and 26:09.57), but both earned their first All-Region honors placing 27th and 30th, respectively.
From Brad Turner:
As I alighted from the van on the morning of November 16th, 2013, a memory from a year ago resurfaced in my mind. There was a day, many moons ago, when the 2012 CNU Cross Country team was hustled into vans on a September afternoon to view our newly acquired home course. The team arrived to a savanna-like field with knee-high grass and no signs of a marked path, let alone a 6 or 8k cross country course. Between that afternoon and present day, Lee Hall Mansion had been the site of many a morning fartleks and meets. On the morning of the Regional meet, it was decked out with a painted CNU Captains logo, countless NCAA banners (some of which we discovered are too large to hang in a dorm room), and most importantly, the largest and most enthusiastic crowd of Christopher Newport supporters.
As the dust settled from the races, a few things became clear. The meet could not have been possible if it were not for the countless numbers of alumni, friends, parents, coaches, and teammates that compromised the workforce to run the meet. Thank you for performing any of the tasks ranging from marshaling and merchandising to announcing and administrating. Let us not forget the tunnel of fans from crest of the final hill through to the finish. You made this a worthy experience not only for the home team, but also for all of the teams that trekked to Newport News to compete that weekend.
Another realization was that although neither team accomplished their goal of earning a top-2 finish to clinch an automatic berth to NCAAs, we still have many accomplishments on paper to be proud of. The men’s fourth-place effort at the Regional meet marks our best finish in over a decade. The women’s team still captured CNU’s first Capital Athletic Conference Championship. The men’s team showed a new audacity in racing as we briefly led the field in Williams Purple Valley Classic and were within 20 points of York College on both occasions we faced them.
These achievements grew from a new level of commitment and sacrifice on our team that is best symbolized by the efforts of our seniors, Aaron and Jess. Both ran their best races of their careers, earning All-Region honors in the process. Back in May, before cross country even began, the returners talked about how we wanted to buy into the program. We were tired of finishing our seasons excusing our efforts with lines like “but what if we had ran over the summer?”, “but what if I had called my teammate out when he shouldn’t have missed morning practice?”. Our team responded with a new sense of ownership, a determination to finish our work with no excuses or speculations. Everyone had the same level of sacrifice, making the whole season an experience that bonded us and made it the most fulfilling season of cross country I’ve ever participated in.
And here’s the best part: we get to do it all over again. Happy Track Season.
Williamsburg, VA (Jamestown HS)
American Studies Major
HS XC 5k Best - 17:04 (2010 MileStat.com XC Invitational)
CNU XC 8k Best - 26:48 (2013 CNU XC Invitational)
CNU #5 All-Time - Outdoor 10k