Colonials take fourth, women’s race marred by error at GW meet

The GW men’s and women’s cross country teams hosted the GW Invitational Saturday morning at Bull Run Park in Centreville, Va.

While the men’s team finished fourth at the meet, it’s not clear how the women’s team did.

The Georgetown University women’s team dominated the race from the start. In the middle of the race, Georgetown’s then-fourth-place runner went off course, which essentially skewed the results of the rest of the race. Some of the women followed and went off course, while others stayed on course.

“I probably should have had someone directing them to turn (where they went off course),” GW head coach Jim Hopkins said. “At the same time it’s the athlete’s responsibility to know the course.” About five of GW’s runners went off course, Hopkins said.

The results are not official, but GW finished third, just ahead of Seton Hall University. Hopkins said he probably will not make the team scores official, because it is difficult to determine how everyone would have finished had they stayed on course. Georgetown, a nationally ranked team, undoubtedly would have won the meet, Hopkins said, as it placed the first nine runners. Virginia Tech would have finished second.

Junior Julie Anne Laurence led all GW runners, finishing 20th overall, followed by senior Lisa Faia in 21st place.

Hopkins said he thought both teams improved from their first meet at La Salle, even though some of his women went off course.

“We’re definitely better than we were two weeks ago,” Hopkins said, comparing the meet to GW’s second-place finish out of three teams two weekends ago. “The men are actually on the verge of becoming a lot better.”

GW’s men finished fourth overall with 90 total points, while Virginia Tech, which placed five in the top 11, won the race with 39 points. GW also finished just six points behind George Mason University and four points behind Georgetown University’s B-team.

The men’s team was led by junior Jeff McCarthy, who finished 13th in a time of 26:56.71, and senior Chris Peterson, who finished 15th in a time of 27:02.49. GW had a solid start, and McCarthy said he thought that was a sign of good mentality from the outset.

“I think we were a little more focused, and we had more guys getting out at the beginning of the race,” McCarthy said. Senior Tim Assal said he thought the race was up for grabs from the opening gun.

“It was just an even race at the start,” he said. “It wasn’t like people were flying out.”

A few of GW’s runners were able to keep up for awhile, but Seton Hall’s Anthony DeBenedictis ended up dominating the race. He won the meet with a time of 24:55.50, about 45 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher and two minutes ahead of McCarthy, GW’s top finisher. GW also placed three other runners in the top 30, including Daniel Uriano (19th), Geoff Craig (21st), and Mike Donaldson (26th).

The cross country teams race next at the University of Richmond Saturday.

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