Elon Cross Country to Compete at CAA Championships

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s and women’s cross country teams head north to Boston, Mass., to compete in their inaugural Colonial Athletic Association Cross Country Championship meet on Saturday, Nov. 1 at Franklin Park.

The men’s 8K race is set for 10:00 a.m., while the women’s 6K run commences at 11:00 a.m. An awards ceremony will immediately follow after both races are completed at 12:00 p.m. The meet is Elon’s first-ever CAA championship event in the Phoenix’s opening year in its new league.

Follow the Phoenix
Updates of the meet will be posted on social media through Twitter at @elonphoenix or the program’s handle at @EU_XCTF. The CAA will also provide updates on its Twitter handle at @CAASports.

About the Phoenix
Under first-year head coach Nick Polk, the Phoenix has had a solid season with a number of great individual and team performances. On the women’s side, Elon has been ranked among one of the top teams in the Southeast Region the entire season and is currently sitting at No. 10 in the most recent regional rankings.

The maroon and gold women, who finished as the runner-up at the Southern Conference Championships last season, is coming off a 25th-place standing at the NCAA Pre-Nationals two weeks ago. The performance was a 19-spot improvement from the previous year at the Pre-Nationals.

Expected to compete for Elon on the women’s side are seniors Jenny Gallagher, Haylee Dawe, Tereza Novotna, juniors Elyse Bierut and Kaitlin Snapp and sophomores Kimberly Johansen and Shelby Cuddeback. Gallagher has been the women’s top runner throughout most of the season, crossing the line with a time of 21:40.8 at the NCAA Pre-Nationals, the third-fastest mark at in school history.

For the men, the Phoenix is scheduled to suit up the group of seniors Luis Vargas, Ari Rothschild, Adam Bernstein, juniors Ryan Gwaltney and Reed Payne and freshmen Sam Geha and Carlos Andino. The maroon and gold will look for its highest finish ever at any league championship at the Division I era.

Vargas has been riding four first-place finishes in his last four races including clocking a 24:20.3 in the men’s 8K at the NCAA Pre-Nationals. That performance was the eighth-fastest time between all the men’s races at a meet featuring among the top individual runners in the nation. The Angier, N.C., native has also been a four-time recipient of the league’s Men’s Runner of the Week this year.

Scouting The Field
The Phoenix will look to challenge incumbent champion William & Mary, who captured both the men’s and women’s titles last season. The Tribe men have in fact won 15 straight CAA titles while the women harriers won its second consecutive league championship last year.

The women of James Madison won back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011 and placed second to the Tribe over the past two years. Host school Northeastern finished second behind William & Mary in the men’s race last season and is looking for another strong performance.