Strong individual performances paced an overall disappointing men’s and women’s cross country outing at the Atlantic 10 Championship in Mechanicsville, Va. Saturday.
Junior Suzanne Dannheim’s eighth place finish – the first time since 2010 a Colonial has cracked the top-10 – and senior Halley Brown’s 19th place finish led the women’s side to a seventh place finish with 174 points out of 14 teams.
The men’s team was led by sophomore Jackson Cronin’s eighth place finish and senior Andrew Weber in 16th place, but GW’s next runners in scoring positions came in 54th, 70th and 75th, leaving GW with a ninth place finish overall with 211 points.
Both teams placed lower than last season.
“We had some really good individual performances,” head coach Terry Weir said. “But disappointed in how the team standings came out.”
Dannheim’s 17:38.4 finish and Cronin’s 25:07.30 time both earned them spots on the A-10 All-Conference team for finishing in the top 15. Dannheim is now tied for the second-best 5K time in program history, while Brown’s 17:57.2 time makes her just the sixth Colonial in program history to break 18 minutes in the 5K.
The women’s team ran first and sat in eighth place among the competition at the one-mile marker. The Colonials fell back to ninth after the second mile but surged in the back half of the course to finish in seventh.
“We know we can do better,” Dannheim said. “We walked away from that race and we know we can do better.”
Weir said the Colonials’ come back was too little, too late to dig themselves out of a hole in the standings. Despite running “really, really well” in the last mile, Weir said the team needed to start the race in a better position.
“Our back of our pack just never got into the race,” Weir said.
Dannheim, Brown, senior Madison Yerke (34th) and sophomores Kathryn Nohilly (53rd) and Margaret Coogan (64th) were the scoring five for the Colonials.
Nine out of 10 women’s runners set personal records in the meet.
“I’m so proud of everyone because we did move up throughout the race, but we do have to work on getting ourselves to the front,” Dannheim said. “We have to work on having the confidence to go out with the fastest girls and say ‘we can do this.’
On the men’s side, Cronin said the team started exactly how they intended to with Colonials packed into the top-25 of the meet. The team executed its race plan until the second or third mile, when runners started to fall back, he said.
“That’s just something you can’t really prevent,” Cronin said. “How you’re feeling that’s just something you can’t predict, it’s not up to you.”
Heading into the first mile, junior Jack Conlon led the field, crossing the mile mark first in the race. Cronin and Weber followed closely behind.
The Colonials held onto fifth place through the first three miles, but the team dropped to eighth in the fourth mile before ending in ninth.
“Sort of disappointed with team finishes overall but guys gave it their all,” Cronin said. “They put it all out there so you can’t be disappointed with that.”
Cronin, Weber, Conlon, senior Connor James and junior Colin Wills scored for GW.
“We just had some guys who were off and didn’t run very well,” Weir said. “You know that’s nothing more than that, they do all this preparation you do everything but you got to go out and still compete and do it.”
With the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional meet two weeks away, Weir said the team needs to refocus on training.
“I know they’re disappointed team-wise but we’ve got to get back in the saddle, we’ve got to get ready to compete,” Weir said. “We’ll be fine, we’ll be OK”