Cross country closes out season at NCAA Regional Championships

Senior+Autumn+Sands+%28pictured%29+places+in+the+top+50+at+cross+countrys+final+meet%2C+the+NCAA+Regional+Championships.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+GoLeopards.com%29

Senior Autumn Sands (pictured) places in the top 50 at cross country’s final meet, the NCAA Regional Championships. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards.com)

Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

The Lafayette cross country teams competed in their seventh and final meet for the fall season at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships last Friday afternoon. The men finished 14th of 26 teams in the 10K race and the women finished 19th of 27 teams in the 6k race.

“Before the race, everyone gets pre-race jitters, but something about the start of this race was emotional,” senior Cassandra Wilk said.

Senior Austin Barry led the way for the men’s side, finishing 70th of 174 runners with a time of 32:37.4. Senior Brian Clayton finished behind Barry in 92nd overall with a time of 33:03.5. 

“Their race went from an 8k at our Patriot League meet to a 10k, so it added over a mile,” Wilk said, “They did really well, I was really happy for them.”

Rounding out the top five for the Leopards were senior Thomas Anthony (100th, 33:17.0), junior Bobby Oehrlein (102nd, 33:19.8) and freshman Charley Eagle (115th, 33:42.4). 

“During the men’s race, there was a pack in the front of the top runners and then a couple guys in between and then some of our top runners all really close together,” Wilk said.

Princeton set the pace for the men’s race, finishing first over Georgetown by just nine points. 

Senior Autumn Sands led the way for Lafayette on the women’s side in 48th of 193 runners with a final time of  21:46.2.

“[Sands] had a goal of being in the top fifty, so she was really happy and excited about that,” Wilk said.

Junior Becky Hartman was behind Sands in 98th place overall with a time of 22:49.1.

Rounding out the top five for Lafayette were freshman Maura Timoney (125th, 23:14.6), Wilk (130th, 23:23.5) and junior Dannah Javens (138th, 23:27.7). 

“I had tunnel vision for the last eight hundred meters of the race,” Wilk said. “I was thinking this is my last one, I just need to go as fast as I can to the finish line.”

“[Sands] and I were standing at the finish line, and we hugged and she said, ‘I’m so happy that we got to be teammates for four years, I’m gonna miss racing cross country with you,'” Wilk added.

Georgetown set the pace on the women’s side, winning the meet and scoring only 43 points. West Virginia finished second and joined Georgetown as the only teams scoring under 100 points.

“We made little goal sheets at the beginning of the year and we put them in our bags. My personal goal was just to have fun and find something happy about every run because running for me over the past ten years has very much been a love-hate relationship,” Wilk explained. “Even if we were stuck in thirty-degree weather and it was raining, I tried to find something fun about that run and that made the whole season much better.”