Elon’s Vargas, Gallagher Lead Elon Phoenix Cross Country at NCAA Pre-Nationals

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Senior Luis Vargas won his fourth consecutive race of the season as select members of the Elon University men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the La Vern Gibson Championship Course.

Vargas crossed the line with a time of 24:20.3 in the men’s 8K white run – just four seconds off his school and personal record. It was the fifth overall first-place finish for the Angier, N.C., native in his career as he continues his impressive 2014 campaign.

Vargas was one of two members of the men’s team to compete at the meet with fellow senior Ari Rothschild. Rothschild finished in 25th out of 193 competitors in the white race with a time of 25:40 – 10 seconds shy of his previous personal-best.

On the women’s side, senior Jenny Gallagher led the Phoenix women for the fourth time this season, finishing 55th out of 293 runners in the 6K blue race with a new personal-best time of 21:40.8. That mark is now the third-fastest time in program history.

Fellow senior Tereza Novotna was the next Phoenix runner to cross the line on the women’s side with her time of 22:04.8 in 99th. Emily Dunne followed with her time of 22:21.1 in 145th while Elyse Bierut was closely behind at her time of 22:23.1 in 151st.

Kaitlin Snapp (22:40.0, 190th) and Haylee Dawe (22:59.4, 227th) rounded out the scores for the maroon and gold. The Phoenix women finished 25th overall in the race, improving from their 44th position from a year ago in the Pre-Nationals. Elon was ahead of notable schools like Kansas State, Purdue, Northwestern, Kansas and Texas.

Both the Elon men’s and women’s teams returns to the course on Nov. 1, to compete at the Colonial Athletic Association championships in Boston, Mass.