Sophomore David Azari ran his way to an 18th place finish at this weekend’s Atlantic 10 Championships, helping the GW men’s cross country team move up three places in the A-10 standings. The women, led by freshman Mary Beth McCullough, were unable to improve on last year’s run and placed 10th.
La Salle men’s team secured the top four spots to combine for an overall score of 16, the lowest score since 1984. Most Outstanding Performer Todd Witzleben ran a 25:00.3, while teammates Tim McAteer, Ryan Fennelly and Bryan Skelly secured the top four.
The La Salle women’s team combined for 55 points for the tournament victory. Its 10-point victory over Rhode Island (65) was the closest margin of victory in women’s A-10 history since 1995, when UMass defeated runner-up St. Joe’s by three points.
Despite her team’s seventh-place finish, Xavier’s Kerry Hils ran the ninth-fastest time in A-10 championships history with a 17:56.7.
For the GW men’s cross country team, the race represents an overall improvement led by new head coach Deb Hasfurther, who was an assistant coach last year when the team placed eighth under Jim Hopkins.
GW ran a particularly good race considering top runner David Talbird was unable to contribute his best effort because of an ankle injury. Talbird finished 34th overall, just behind Darrell Andruski, who finished 33rd with a 26:30.9. Freshman Tim Persico ran a 26:40.9 to place 40th.
Hasfurther was happy with her men’s team and expressed confidence her team will move up further next year.
“The most positive aspect is that the men’s team will not lose a single runner next year as we currently have no seniors,” Hasfurther said.
Mary Beth McCullough continued her impressive freshman campaign placing 56th out of 108 runners. Fellow freshman Erin Patton followed McCullough at a 20:22.2, which was good for 65th place. Senior Jenee Peterson placed 67th with a 20:23.6.
The women’s team raced better than its results showed, Hasfurther said. Four of its top five runners competed without A-10 experience and last year’s top runner, Mackenzie Jessen was out with multiple stress fractures.
The Colonials will compete against about 30 of the top teams in the region Nov. 10 at the NCAA Regionals at Lehigh University.