Heineking Wins Second-Straight ACC Title, No. 24 Women Earn Runner-up Finish
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Senior All-American Emil Heineking earned his second-straight ACC individual cross country title at Boston College’s Franklin Park Saturday morning, while the No. 24-ranked women’s squad upset No. 12 Duke and No. 17 North Carolina to earn a runner-up finish to No. 3 Florida State. The second-place finish marks the best finish for the Cavalier women since they earned runner-up honors in 1993.
“It was a terrific day for our teams,” head coach Jason Vigilante said. “Each week we are getting better and better, and today our women were just phenomenal. I am so proud of them.
“Our men went 1-2 again and we are on the move. We are certain that our best running of the season lies ahead.”
Five Cavaliers earned All-ACC honors on the day. Heineking, the 2007 ACC Freshman of the Year, joins Andy Biladeau (2005-08) and Ryan Foster (2004-05, 07-08) as the only three Cavalier men to earn all-conference honors in all four years of competition, while redshirt junior Ryan Collins finished runner-up for the second year in a row to earn his third-straight All-ACC accolade.
“It feels great to win again,” Heineking said. “Coming into this race, I felt like this guy with the target on his back and kind of ran that way the first 5k. I think I led almost the whole race, but between 5k and 7k a group moved in front of me and I was able to move up during Bear Cage Hill and run down hard through the finish. It is very special to repeat. I don’t think too many guys have done that before.”
Heineking became the ninth conference student-athlete to earn back-to-back titles in the 57-year history of the championships, and the first since Florida State’s Andrew Lemoncello won the 2004 and 2005 titles. This also marks the fifth time in ACC history that a performer from the same school has earned the individual title at least three years in a row – as former Cavalier Ryan Foster became Virginia’s first individual champion in 2008. Clemson was the last team to win a string of individual titles, as a Tiger won five-straight from 1980-84.
For the second-straight year, Heinkeing and Collins battled for individual honors – with Heineking edging his teammate and clocking in at 23:40.1, while Collins finished with a time of 23:40.5. Redshirt sophomore Sean Keveren was third for Virginia, taking 17th in 24:13.4, while freshman Chris Foley was 37th and junior Robbie Eckhardt was 40th. Foley finished in 24:53.8 and Eckhardt crossed in 24:58.0.
On the women’s side, a trio of Cavaliers, Strehler, Garcia and Gay, led the way with top-10 finishes and all-conference accolades. Strehler and Garcia crossed the line together, with Strehler taking eighth in 20:33.1 for her first All-ACC honor, while Garcia finished ninth in 20:33.2 for her second all-conference performance. Gay rounded out the top-10, taking 10th in 20:36.7 to earn her second-consecutive All-ACC honor. Freshmen Ariel Karabinus and Katherine Walker rounded out the scoring Cavaliers and were the second and third freshmen to cross the line, respectively. Karabinus finished 22nd in 21:06.3, while Walker clocked in at 21:11.4, good for 26th.
NC State’s Laura Hoer won her first conference crown – and ACC Freshman of the Year honors – by edging Florida State senior Pasca Cheruiyot down the homestretch. Hoer finished in 20:04.4, while Cheruiyot clocked in at 20:05.4. Wake Forest’s Anna Nosenko finished third in 20:10.6.
Florida State swept the team titles, with the third-ranked women earning 52 points to outdistance the Cavaliers’, who finished with 75 points. No. 12 Duke was third with 99 points.
On the men’s side No. 8 Florida State won a close team battle with 43 points. No. 16 NC State finished second with 81 points, while No. 25 North Carolina was third with 84 points. No. 19 Virginia edged No. 14 Duke for fourth, 92-93.
Virginia will return home next week to host the annual Cavalier Open on Friday, Nov. 5. Races are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.