BOSTON, Mass. – Senior Luis Vargas of the Elon University men’s cross country team set history on Saturday, Nov. 1, as he became the Phoenix’s first-ever champion in the Colonial Athletic Association era as the maroon and gold competed at the CAA Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park.
Vargas won his fifth race of the season after crushing the competition with his time of 24:11.37 – breaking his previous school record – and finishing nearly a minute ahead of his closest competitor in the 8K run. The Angier, N.C., native was also named the league’s Most Outstanding Performer.
The feat also marked Elon’s first championship of any kind in the Phoenix’s inaugural year in its new league. Vargas also became the program’s first conference champion at the Division I level.
Teammate and fellow senior Ari Rothschild was also in the top-five of the race with a new personal-record time of 25:12.28. Junior Ryan Gwaltney was next for Elon with his time of 26:29.73 in 27th followed by senior Adam Bernstein in 29th at his time of 26:32.56. Sam Geha (37th, 26:52.78) and Reed Payne (38th, 27:02.68) were the next closest group for the Phoenix.
The Phoenix men finished third overall at the meet with 85 points. Defending champion William & Mary (36 points) won its 16th consecutive CAA title followed by host Northeastern with 48 points in second.
On the women’s side, the Phoenix finished second overall at the meet with 46 total points. William & Mary defended its championship for the third straight season after finishing with 35 points.
Tereza Novotna was the first Elon runner to cross the line in the women’s 6K race with her new school-record time of 21:08.37 in fifth. Fellow senior Jenny Gallagher, who was sixth overall with her new personal-best time of 21:10.91, was the next runner up for the Phoenix.
Junior Elyse Bierut finished in the top-10 with her time of 21:41.06 while sophomore Kimberly Johansen was just outside of the top-10 at 11th with a time of 21:44.57. Emily Dunne (14th, 21:59.98) Kaitlin Snapp (18th, 22:17.24) and Haylee Dawe (19th, 22:8.38) were the next group up for Elon.
Elon will be back in action on Nov. 8, with a few members of the team competing at the NC State Three Stripe Invitational. The Phoenix will then compete at the NCAA Southeast Regionals on Nov. 14 in Louisville, Ky.