CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia men’s and women’s cross country teams open the 2021 season on Saturday (Sept. 4) at Richmond’s Spider Alumni Open. The meet will be held at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Va. The men’s race (5k) starts at 9:15 a.m. and the women (2-mile) get underway at 9:50 a.m. It marks the return of a traditional fall schedule for the program after the pandemic pushed the 2020 season into 2021.

Competing for the Hoos
Virginia will have 10 men and 11 women participating in the meet. The men’s squad will include nine returning veterans who have all raced in at least one collegiate cross country meet. They’ll be joined by William & Mary graduate transfer Johnny Rogers, who previously raced in the Spider Alumni Open twice and was 21st at the 2021 Colonial Athletic Association cross country championships.

The Cavalier women are also fielding a veteran-laden lineup. A total of eight returning UVA runners have raced in a collegiate meet and they’ll be joined by freshman Veronic Boire and William and Mary transfer Taylor Jones. Sophomore Lila Fenner will be making her cross country debut at UVA.

Men’s Competitors: Kevin Carlson, Justin Diehl, Jack Eliason, Kellen Hasle, Jacob Hunter, Ali Ibrahim, Nick Karayianis, Ka’eo Kruse, Conor Murphy, Johnny Rogers

Women’s Competitors: Natalie Bardach, Veronic Boire, Claire Frazier Bolton, Ellie Desmond, Lila Fenner, Coco Holliday, Taylor Jones, Gabby Karas, Helena Lindsay, Emma Myer, Liza Neely

Get used to seeing X23 when it comes to Virginia cross country. It is the tagline used to help promote the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships that will take place on the Cavaliers’ home course at Panorama Park. Virginia will host the X23 Invitational on Oct. 15 at the Earlysville, Va., location.

Panorama Farms has hosted the 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 NCAA Southeast Regional Championships. Additionally, the Cavaliers’ home course has served as the host for the ACC Cross Country Championships in 2006, 2007 and 2014. UVA was the site of the 1987 NCAA Championships, which were held at the Foxfield Course in Charlottesville. The Arkansas men and Oregon women took the titles at that event.

Up Next
Virginia will host its first home meet of the season on Friday, Sept. 17 at Panorama Park. The Virginia Invitational will start at 5:15 p.m. and feature a 5k course for the women’s race and an 8k event for the men.

ACC Polls
The ACC announced its preseason predicted order of finish on Friday (Sept. 3). The polls are based on voting by the conference’s coaches. A total of 13 ACC schools are scheduled to see their first action this week and over Labor Day weekend. Notre Dame is set to host the ACC Championships on Friday, Oct. 29. The ACC will close the season in the spotlight on Nov. 20, when Florida State will host the 2021 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships.

Here is a look at the 2021 ACC Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Polls, with first-place votes in parenthesis, followed by total points:



  1. Notre Dame (12) – 221
  2. Wake Forest (1) – 197
  3. NC State (1) – 186
  4. Syracuse (1) – 171
  5. Virginia – 168
  6. North Carolina – 143
  7. Duke – 141
  8. Florida State – 137
  9. Virginia Tech – 104
  10. Pitt – 90
  11. Georgia Tech – 74
  12. Louisville – 61
  13. Clemson – 51
  14. Boston College – 38
  15. Miami – 18


  1. NC State (14) – 223
  2. North Carolina – 189
  3. Florida State – 185
  4. Notre Dame – 174
  5. Georgia Tech – 168
  6. Duke – 146
  7. Virginia (1) – 144
  8. Syracuse – 130
  9. Wake Forest – 101
  10. Boston College – 98
  11. Virginia Tech – 76
  12. Louisville – 61
  13. Pitt – 43
  14. Clemson – 42
  15. Miami – 20