Colonials run well in the mud

The intense rain and wind from Hurricane Isabel turned the cross country course in Centreville, Va., into a giant mudslide last week. But area teams spent the week training on the wet, slippery terrain and it showed at last weekend’s GW Invitational.

The host Colonials ended with top five finishes from both its teams – the women in third, the men in fifth – and other District schools filled the leader boards. On the women’s side, Georgetown and American finished in first and second, respectively, while those same teams finished in second and third on the men’s side. The College of William and Mary won the men’s race.

“The course was really muddy and water logged,” GW head coach Deb Cane said. “It was a really tough course. This gave us the opportunity to pull together as a team and we went past those who weren’t suited for these conditions.”

Freshman Bridget Skeuse was GW’s top female finisher for the fourth week in a row, coming in eighth place overall. She completed the five-kilometer race in 19:34, while junior Trina Bolton crossed the line three seconds later to finish in 10th place.

Senior Dave Azari led the men’s team, finishing in 22nd overall in the eight-kilometer race with a time of 26:57. Classmate Darrell Andruski came in five seconds and two places behind, while underclassmen comprised the rest of GW’s top-five finishers.

Cane said she was especially proud of the women’s team, who stepped up despite injuries to two former team Most Valuable Players, sophomore Lindsay Blum and junior Mary Beth McCullough.

Cane said she was also pleased with the men’s finish, since her squad is mostly young and inexperienced.

“The freshmen give us our depth,” she said. “The two seniors finish one and two, but the rest are freshmen and sophomores. They make a big contribution.”

Cane said she is going to have fewer runners compete in the next race and lower the mileage in practice, since many of the athletes are tired and injured. But, she added, the Invitational results were a positive sign.

“We are always aiming to finish in the top four in the conference,” she said. “We are steadily improving as a team. We’re definitely on the right track.”

The Colonials’ next race is at the La Salle Invitational Oct. 4.

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