Elon’s Ciolkowski Claims Title at CAA Cross Country Championship Meet

Posted by Press Release on November 2, 2015 at 5:35 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Rookie Nick Ciolkowski of the Elon University men’s cross country team became the second Phoenix runner in as many years to claim a Colonial Athletic Association individual championship as the maroon and gold men’s and women’s cross country programs competed at the 2015 CAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 31, at the course at Laurel Hill Plantation.

Ciolkowski clocked in a time of 24:22.3 in the men’s 8K race at the CAA Championship meet, just edging out the runner-up at the finish line. The Fairport, N.Y., native follows Luis Vargas as a individual CAA cross country champion for the Phoenix. Ciolkowski’s time is also second to Vargas on the school’s all-time performance list.

For his efforts, Ciolkowski was named the CAA Most Outstanding Performer of the Meet. The Phoenix men’s team finished third overall at the meet with 81 points behind champion William & Mary (21) and Northeastern (67). The finish tied the highest conference standing ever for the men’s team at the Division I level.

On the women’s side, the Phoenix was also third in its 6K race with 66 points behind William & Mary (23) and James Madison (54). Kimberly Johansen clocked in the second-fastest time in school history in the race with a 20:58.0 and was sixth overall. Senior Elyse Bierut joined Johansen in the top-10 with her new personal-best time of 21:03.8.

Ciolkowski, Johansen and Bierut all made All-CAA team for finishing in the top-12 of their respective races.

The Rundown – Men
Ciolkowski kept pace with the lead pack until the final 30 yards of the race when he and William & Mary’s Faris Sakallah battled down the stretch. Sakallah led until Ciolkowski went past him on his left just before the finish line edging him out by one second. Senior Reed Payne was the second Phoenix runner to cross the finish line with a time of 25:34.6 and was 15th overall while fellow senior Ryan Gwaltney was 18th with a time of 25:42.5. Junior Ian O’Leary placed 23rd with a time 26:01.3 while Carlos Andino was 35th in 27:00.1 followed by Greg Paugh at 36th in 27:05.1.

The Rundown – Women
Johansen was two seconds from a fifth-place finish as William & Mary made up four out of the top five spots. Junior Shelby Cuddeback placed 14th with a time of 21:38.0 while rookie Coralea Geraniotis was 15th with a time of 21:45.6. Senior Kaitlin Snapp rounded out the scores for Elon after placing 23rd with a time of 22:03.4.

What’s Next
Select members of the Phoenix will compete at the Three Stripe Invitational on Nov. 7, in Cary, N.C.

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