Virginia Women Repeat as NCAA Southeast Regional Champions
LOUISVILLE, Ky.-The No. 21 Virginia women’s cross country team won its second consecutive NCAA Southeast Regional Championship and third in four years Saturday morning at Louisville’s E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. The Cavaliers finished with 107 points, defeating ACC rivals NC State and North Carolina, who finished second and third with 113 and 133 points, respectively.
With the win, the Cavalier women earn an automatic bid into the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships for the fourth-straight year. This will mark Virginia’s sixth trip to NCAAs in the past seven years and 12th appearance overall.
“Our women were phenomenal today,” director of track and field/cross country Jason Vigilante said. “Coming here to Louisville, we knew we would be competing for our third regional title in four years. This was a special opportunity and our women were well prepared and got the win. It was a team effort and the fourth-years stepped up and led the day. I am so proud of this team and the effort they gave, on to Terre Haute!”
The Virginia men finished ninth overall with 238 points and were led by senior Mark Amirault (Walpole, Mass.), who earned All-Southeast Region honors and earned an automatic individual berth at the NCAA Championships with a third-place finish in a 10K time of 29:58.3.
Amirault’s finish was tied for the highest Cavalier finish ever at the meet, matching Emil Heineking’s third-place mark in 2008. Junior Robby Andrews (Englishtown, N.J.), NCAA Champion in the 800-meter run and running in his first ever 10K, placed 33rd in a time of 31.05.8.
“After ACC’s, I was very confident in my fitness,” Amirault said. “I knew that if I ran to my ability, I had a great chance at advancing to nationals and fortunately, I was able to do that today. I’m feeling fresher and faster with every race, so I look forward to competing against the nation’s best in Terre Haute.”
Senior Morgane Gay (Bethesda, Md.) led the Cavalier women across the line and earned All-Southeast Region honors with a third-place finish in a 6K time of 20:17.0. Gay becomes the third ‘Hoo to earn four all-region awards throughout her career, joining Stephanie Garcia (2007-10) and Emily Harrison (2004-07).
Senior Anna Corrigan (Burke, Va.) and sophomore Chelsea Ley (Woolwich Township, N.J.) also earned All-Southeast Region status, placing 10th in 20:39.5 and 19th in 20:56.7, respectively. Freshman Kathleen Stevens (Blacksburg, Va.) and senior Chelsea France (Dublin, Ohio) finished 35th and 40th to round out the scoring for the ‘Hoos.
NC State and Eastern Kentucky earned the automatic NCAA bids on the men’s side, finishing with 68 and 139 points, respectively. NC State’s Ryan Hill won the men’s crown with a time of 29:48.8, while North Carolina’s Kendra Schaaf followed up her ACC title with the women’s individual title in 19:52.9.
The at-large team and individual selections for NCAAs will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 13, no later than 7 p.m. The 31-team national championship races will be hosted by Indiana State at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday, Nov. 21.