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Nov. 24, 2003

CHARLOTTESVILLE – There are some fall sports at UVA that get the majority of the local and national press coverage. Sports such as football and men’s and women’s soccer are written about on a weekly, if not daily basis. In no way am I trying to belittle the accomplishments of either of these two sports, as they deserve all the praise they receive. That being said, it’s time to make a little bit of room on the sports pages and newscasts. A couple sports, one old, one new, are movin’ on up!

Which sports, you ask? Cross country and women’s golf. Not your first guesses, right? These two teams have created national recognition this fall with their accomplishments.

Cross Country
The Virginia cross country team opened its season this past September with a 3rd/4th (men/women) place finish on their home turf in the Lou Onesty Invitational. The men’s runners had six people finish in the top 21, with Will Christian taking first place. The women’s team had Jane Maxwell and Angie Saterstad finishing in 8th and 9th, respectively. These solid accomplishments were a sign of things to come for the teams in the following months.

In late September, at the Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, NC, the men’s team sounded notice that they were ready to compete on a national level. They finished in 5th place overall, upsetting five ranked teams in the process, including #14 NC State and # 27 Duke. The women, not to be shown up, finished in 7th place. The men’s finish propelled them to a national ranking of 15. It was the highest ranking for the men in 19 years, since the team finished 5th in the NCAA’s in 1984.

With a 3rd/6th (men/women) finish in the ACC Championship, the teams looked poised to make a run for the NCAA Championship. In the NCAA Southeast Regionals, the men finished in 4th place and the women ended up in 8th. Between the teams, Virginia had three runners earning All-Region honors. On November 17th, the men’s team was invited to compete in the NCAA Championship for the first time since the 1984 season.

Women’s Golf
The women’s golf team at UVA created the 25th varsity level sports team in 2003. The team consists of six first-years – Ashley Mayo, Kira Mayo, Lindsay Robinson, Sally Shonk, Rachel Smith and Leah Wigger – and one 5th year senior, Michele Graham. Although the recruiting class by Head Coach Jan Mann showed huge potential, no one could have expected the performance they put on this fall.

In their first intercollegiate competition ever, the team outscored the University of Richmond 302 to 329. A week later, the team kept up their good play with a 9th place finish at the College of Charleston’s Cougar Classic. Overall, the team finished with three top ten finishes in tournaments this fall, as well as a 16th place finish at the Mercedes Benz Intercollegiate in Knoxville, TN. Shonk and Wigger both posted career lows in the final round.

The team has been so successful that they are to be listed in the upcoming Golfweek Top 50 teams in the country.

The successful fall season has also paid off for Virginia in the recruiting department, signing the 2002 Florida State High School Champion just this past week.The Cavalier golfers will hit the links again in February as they now take a break for the winter months.

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