The GW men’s cross country team won the Towson Invitational this weekend with runners placing fourth through seventh. The women’s team, led by first-place finisher Mary Beth McCullough placed second. For the men, David Talbird finished fourth out of 46 runners with a time of 28:07.
The top five runners on the men’s team followed closely behind Talbird. David Azari finished fifth (28:10), Zachary Holt, sixth (28:26), and Timothy Persico, seventh (28:27). GW took four of the top seven spots on the men’s side to win the invite.
In the women’s race, McCullough led the pack in her college debut. The freshman placed first with a time of 19:50, to help the women to a second-place finish. McCullough and the rest of the women placed in the top 16 out of 68 overall competitors. Sophomore Emily Jadwin finished with the second-best GW time. She was fifth with a time of 20:19, while freshman Erin Patton finished seventh in 20:33.
Coppin State College’s Nickie Peters won the race on the men’s side (26:44), with two of his teammates following closely behind him. CSU’s Beryl Harris crossed the line second at 27:62, and Rashaad Jorden third at 27:59. Towson won the women’s race, led by second-place finisher Laura Brazil in 20:02.
The Colonials, in their first competition under new head coach Debra Hasfurther, are off to their strongest start in more than four years. Hasfurther was promoted to head coach last spring after four years as assistant coach under Jim Hopkins.
Traditionally, GW competes in the Navy Invitational in its first meet of the season. This year, Hasfurther pulled the Colonials from that meet and entered them in the Towson race so they could compete with teams “more on our level,” Hasfurther said before the race.
Last year the men placed third out of six teams at Navy, while the women finished last. The top finisher for the men was Darrell Andruski, who placed 15th and Jenee Peterson, who placed 23rd for the women. Two years ago both, the men and women’s teams placed third out of four teams.
Hasfurther said she uses a more hands-on training approach than Hopkins did. Both she and assistant coach Brian Beil train with the team in practice.
Her approach pushes runners harder earlier in the season. She has the team run at race pace during the week, rather than logging longer miles at slower times. The improvement is already evident, and the runners said before the race that they could feel the changes in their workouts.