The GW women’s cross country team had one of its best races of the season Saturday at the seven-team Maryland Invitational, finishing third behind first-place American and the hosting Terrapins. Junior Darrell Andruski led the men’s team to a fourth-place finish.
American’s women runners swept the top three spots as the Eagles racked up 35 points en route to the win. Maryland’s 39 points were good for a close second place. American also took first place in the men’s race, ahead of Maryland and Johns Hopkins, scoring a near-perfect 22 points overall (a perfect score is 15).
All top five women finishers laid down times under 20 minutes, indicating the strength of the competition. But the GW women formed an effective pack in the five-kilometer race, with their top five runners finishing between ninth and 23rd place for a score of 73 points.
Running in packs helps the team do better as a whole because when a pack passes someone, it improves the raw score, explained sophomore Mary Beth McCullough. Pack running is something her team will continue to concentrate on as they prepare for the Atlantic 10 Championships in two weeks.
Freshman Lindsay Blum led the Colonials, finishing ninth out of 89 runners with a time of 19:13. Sophomore Mary Beth McCullough (19:25) followed Blum in 13th place, while junior Emily Jadwin (16th) and sophomores Erin Patton (18th) and Trina Bolton (23rd) were not far behind.
Andruski led the GW men, completing the eight-kilometer race in 26 minutes flat to finish ninth out of 60 runners. Senior Matt Kascak followed Andruski in 22nd place (27:15), while freshman Phillip Sherman (28:09), sophomore Art Rowbotham (28:09) and senior Rob Wolcheski (28:48) rounded out the pack at 29th, 35th and 36th places, respectively.
McCullough said her team’s strong finish in Maryland gave them confidence heading into A-10s.
“We’re better prepared for A-10s and going in more confident because a lot of people who went last year were rookies and didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
The A-10 Championships begin Nov. 2 in Pittsburgh, Pa. The team will head to the tournament with several strong runners, including junior Dave Azari, who did not compete in the Maryland Invite, but was named last week’s A-10 Cross Country Performer of the Week after an impressive run at the Penn State Open Oct. 12.