Elon Women’s/Men’s Tennis: Underclassmen Lead the Way at SoCon Championships

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Behind a couple of great performances by freshman Elyse Bierut and sophomore Luis Vargas, the Elon women’s and men’s teams finished second and eighth, respectively, at the Southern Conference Championships this morning, Oct. 27. Bierut ran the third fastest time in school history with a time of 17:52.82 and earned an eighth place standing in the 5K race, while Vargas crossed the line in sixth and a time of 24:53.32 in the men’s 8K.

Vargas earned first team All-SoCon honors after recording the best finish by a male at the championships, besting the mark he set last season. This is the second time that Vargas received all-conference honors. Bierut, Tereza Novotna and Allyson Oram were named to the women’s All-SoCon second team. Bierut also earned All-SoCon Freshman honors along with Kaitlin Snapp and Caroline McCaslin.

“Our girls were really prepared for the race,” said Phoenix head coach Christine Engel. “There were a significant amount of personal-records in the group, but just came out a little short. It’s tough getting second by such a close margin, but we put it out there today.”

Bierut improved on her previous mark by nearly 30 seconds as the Rocky River, Ohio, native was the women’s top runner for the second straight meet. Novotna is now sixth on the all-time list after improving on her previous performance by nearly 25 seconds and finishing in the top 10.

“Both Elyse and Tereza, both in their first year for us, stepped it up when it mattered the most,” said Engel. “They by far ran their best races today.”

Oram also crossed the under 18-minute mark and finished just behind Novotna with a time of 17:56.46 and in 11th overall. Haylee Dawe also made the top 20 and ran a time of 18:08.31. Christine Pacewicz ran a new personal-record with a time of 18:20.51 and came in 23rd. Fellow senior Emily Tryon also finished in the top 25 with her mark of 18:21.27 and Snapp rounded out the scores after crossing the line with a time of 18:24.13 and in 26th.

On the men’s side, Vargas was the first to cross the line for the Phoenix for the second straight meet. Junior Ben Perron was the next runner up for Elon after finishing in 27th with a time of 25:47.14, while Ari Rothschild (26:22.68, 40th), Adam Bernstein (26:39.12, 47th) and Sean Martyn (26:42.96, 49th) all placed in the top 50. James Stevenson (26:54.32, 58th) and Ryan Gwaltney (27:38.6, 64th) rounded out the team scores for Elon.

The women lost a close race to Appalachian State for the team title as the Mountaineers finished the meet with 64 points to Elon’s 68. Samford was third with 97 with the Bulldogs’ Lauren D’Alessio winning the individual title.

ASU also won the men’s title with 63 points with runner-up Chattanooga earning 91. UNCG’s Paul Chelimo defended his individual title for the Spartans.

Elon will have a couple of meets left in its season as the maroon and gold will compete in the Three Stripe Invitational at N.C. State next Saturday, Nov. 3, before the NCAA Regional race on Saturday, Nov. 12, in Charlotte, N.C.