Elon Phoenix Women’s Cross Country Earns Top-10 Finish at Southeast Regionals; Vargas Receives All-Region Honors

EARLYSVILLE, Va. – Junior Luis Vargas established a new school-record and received all-region accolades while senior Allyson Oram also set a new program-record as the Elon University cross country teams competed at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 15 at the course on Panorama Farms, hosted by the University of Virginia. The Phoenix women finished ninth overall in the team standings, its highest finish ever, out of 39 teams.

“There were so many great performances on both the men’s and the women’s side today,” said Elon head cross country coach Christine Engel. “Both Luis and Ally did a great job leading the way and setting new school-records in the process. The rest of the team also did well with numerous personal-records. It was just an exciting day overall and such great progress for this program.

“Cracking the top-10 on the women’s side was very exciting and it was an extraordinary performance for them,” added Engel. “Coming into the meet ranked 14th (in the region), we wanted to surpass that and I knew that if we put it all together we had a shot of reaching the top-10. To get ninth overall was huge testament to how tough they performed when it matters the most. It was by far our best team performance of the year and I’m really, really proud of them.”

Vargas ran a time of 29:46.5 in the men’s 10K race and finished 22nd out of 239 competitors. The Angier, N.C., native broke his previous school-record of 31:35.37 that he set at last year’s regional championships by nearly two minutes. He also became the program’s first athlete to earn All-Region honors.

“Luis ran his race plan perfectly today,” said Engel. “He moved really well with the field and it resulted into a new personal-record by nearly two minutes as well as becoming the first male in program history to receive all-region honors. I’m just really proud of the way he ran today.”

Oram broke her previous school-record of 21:18.15 that she set earlier this season at the NCAA Pre-Nationals in the women’s 6K run. The Marlborough, Mass., native ran a time of 21:15.6 and finished 26th out of 265 runners to help the Phoenix women improve on its 16th place standing from a year ago in a region featuring one of the more competitive fields in the country with three nationally ranked teams.

“Allyson ran so tough today,” said Engel. “She really led us up front, raced with such intensity and fierceness and was just a place away from all-region honors. She did a really great job on such a tough course and to achieve a personal-record on it shows how much she and her teammates went after it and were focused to do so.”

Junior Tereza Novotna was the next female finisher for Elon with a new personal-best time of 21:48.1, the third-fastest on the all-time performance list, and 53rd overall finish. Sophomore Kaitlin Snapp joined Novotna on the program’s top-10 all-time performance list with her new personal-record mark of 22:03.6 in 68th place followed by junior Haylee Dawe with a new personal-best time of 22:08.6 and a 70th place standing.

Sophomore Elyse Bierut rounded out the team score with a time of 22:10.8 and was 74th. Kimberly Johansen (22:16.0, 82nd) and Jenny Gallagher (23:35.8, 188th) also competed for Elon.

Junior Ari Rothschild was the next to cross the line for the Phoenix men with a new personal-best time of 31:58.4, good for a 132nd place finish. Rothschild’s time is also now the second-best performance on the all-time performance list. Senior Nick Schneider also set a new personal-record with a time of 32.22.3 while freshman Ian O’Leary rounded out the male performers for Elon with a time of 33:20.6.

Host Virginia took home the women’s team title, edging out William & Mary, 57-69. On the men’s side, Eastern Kentucky won the meet with 58 points, ahead of Virginia who finished with 96.