The University of Mary Washington and Salisbury University have been the two primary teams battling for the Capital Athletic Conference men’s and women’s team cross country titles for many years. Similarly, the top individuals in the championship races have usually worn UMW or Sea Gulls uniforms.
York College, the host of the 2011 CAC Championship Meet on Saturday (10/29), is hoping to lead a pack of challengers to displace the Eagles and Sea Gulls on the awards podium, either individually or collectively.
All nine CAC teams in both the men’s and women’s meets have shown improvement during the season and will be jockeying for position in the team standings Saturday. Most teams will then continue their seasons at NCAA regional championship races on Nov. 12.
In the women’s chase, which starts at 11 a.m. at John Rudy Park (near Emigsville, Pa.), Salisbury is the three-time defending champion (and six of the last seven team titles). Individually, contenders include Frostburg State senior Anne Patron, Mary Washington sophomore Liz Green, the Salisbury duo of Becca Stinner and Anna Steinman along with York’s sister tandem of senior Mandy Parshall and freshman Misty Parshall. Mandy Parshall is the defending CAC champion.
In the men’s race, which begins at noon, Salisbury is also the defending champion – the Gulls’ eighth title in the last 11 years. Individually, five-time CAC Athlete of the Week Ryan Jackson is the runner to beat. Jackson, the Sea Gulls’ sophomore, hasn’t finished lower than third place in any of his five races this season, including some of the top regional and national races on the calendar. He is the defending CAC champ and Rookie of the Year. Mary Washington junior Sean Healy and York sophomore Tim Hartung have also won CAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week awards this season.
Here is a look at each team heading into Saturday’s championship races.
The Frostburg State men’s cross country team has overcome injuries to collect a solid season in 2011. The Bobcats look to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish at the league championship meet and should be led by senior Jesse Henderson and sophomore Patrick Mead. Henderson has been FSU’s top finisher in each of the last two meets, at both DeSales and Gettysburg, while Mead has battled back from an injury and should be ready to go by the CAC Championship. Meade was the Bobcats top finisher in this year’s first three meets.
The Frostburg State women’s cross country team is poised to make a run at the league title in just its second year as a member of the conference. FSU finished fourth last season and will once again be led by senior Anne Patron. She garnered All-CAC honors a year ago and has been the squad’s top finisher at each meet this fall. Earlier this season at the York Classic, the site of the league championship, Patron took second place and was the CAC’s top-finisher that day. Freshman Gabbi Maher can have an immediate impact in the CAC as she has been the second finisher for the Bobcats all season and should be an important factor in FSU’s run to the title.
Hood’s men return the core of the team from last year, with only one senior in the top ten. Brett Shelley and returning All-CAC runner Dan Jacobs have been running at the front
Hood’s women are much improved with seven of the top ten women runners new to the squad. This makes predicting an “adventure.” Three different women have run in the number one position for the Blazers this fall.
Marymount looks to improve on its 8th place finish from a year ago at the CAC Championships. Freshmen Tam Nguyen and Alexi McHugh have added an extra spark to an experienced group of juniors Udit Bhatnagar and Mark Flores as well as sophomore Kevin Farmer.
Marymount looks to improve on its 7th place finish from a year ago at the CAC Championships. Sophomore Megan McMinn leads the Saints after finishing as the top performer in each of the Saints’ meets this season. Joining McMinn is senior Rachael Raske, sophomore Summer Penrose and freshmen Jessica Butler and Alondra Hall.
Mary Washington enters the conference championships ranked sixth in the South/Southeast region, and are coming off a solid third place performance among 31 schools at the Gettysburg Invitational two weeks ago. The Eagles are a senior-laden group, led by the likes of Stephen Harrison, Chris Marino, Kyle Anderson, and junior Sean Healy. Head Coach Stan Soper hopes that veteran experience will push UMW back to the top of the standings.
Mary Washington fields a very young squad in 2011, and Soper will look toward a group of underclassmen to lead the way at the CAC Championship. Sophomore Liz Green has proven to be the Eagles' top runner, having finished at the top of the Eagles' results each week. Sophomore Erin Dandridge and freshmen Hannah Somers and Jennifer Moore will also look to spark the Eagles to a return to the top of the standings.
Salisbury, which will be looking for its 10th CAC championship this year, is led into the meet by sophomore Ryan Jackson, who won the CAC Male Athlete of the Week award all five times that he was eligible this season as he did not finish lower than third place in any race. Salisbury received steady performances through the season from freshman Alex Arias, who was one of Salisbury’s top three runners on three different occasions this year. Seniors John Fitzgerald and David Toller, who have both been key contributors in 2011, will be striving for the third CAC title of their careers.
Depth has been the key to Salisbury’s success in 2011, and will be important if the Gulls are to win their fourth-straight title. Seniors Emily Powell, Anna Steinman and Becca Stinner have led the way through much of the year, and hope to become the first set of seniors in Salisbury women’s cross country history to earn four CAC championships. The Sea Gulls have been helped by a number of talented younger runners, including freshmen Kira Polimeni and Hailey Spinapont, this season to add to their depth.
The Seahawks feature a pair of runners in Dan
Swain and Nick Pasko that have been one
spot away from earning all-conference honors in each of the past
two championship meets. Matt
Bennett, David Kersey, and
Tim Carey have come on strong for St. Mary's in
the last three meets and should push for All-CAC honors this
The trio of Katie Phipps, Keighly Bradbrook, and Michelle DiMenna will look to lead St. Mary's to a strong finish at this year's championship meet. Phipps nearly gained all-league honors last season while Bradbrook and DiMenna have been the team's top two runners in the last four meets of the season.
Stevenson enters the 2011 CAC Men’s Cross Country
Championships after finishing seventh a year ago. Leading the way
for the Mustangs is junior Patrick Cristaldi who
has been the team's top finisher in each of the five races he has
competed this season. He was the team's second finisher at last
year's conference championship, placing 33rd overall.
Sophomores Logan Pasqual and Richard
Henderson are the only other members of this year's team
that have competed at the CAC championship meet, finishing 64th and
71st, respectively, in 2010. Newcomers to watch are freshmen
Thomas Janasek and Deege
Stevenson finished eighth at the 2010 CAC Women’s Cross Country Championships and have just two returners from last year's team who competed at the conference meet. Sophomore Mary Kate Lutz finished 47th at last year's championships while junior Meghan Najewicz placed 52nd. The duo finished second and third among the team, respectively. Newcomer, junior Shannon Henretty, has been the team's top finisher in five out of six races this season, placing eighth at last week's Hood College Invitational. Other newcomers to watch are sophomore Laura DiMauro and freshman Jill Benko.
The Wesley women’s team has been led all season by junior
Tristin Burris, who won a meet and Delaware State
and has also come within five seconds of the school record at 5,000
meters. The duo of Twila McCrea and
Kristine Bailey has battled for the second spot on
the team all season. Farryn Kauffman joined
the team in midseason and provides solid depth for the
Wesley features three freshmen in its men’s top five including Richard Feeney who is already the 10th fastest individual in program history. Sophomore Michael Liegey led Wesley at one race, and has provide a solid second option.
The York men's cross country squad enters the 2011 Capital
Athletic Conference Championships looking for an outstanding
finish. Sophomore Tim Hartung leads the Green and
White and will look to compete for an All-CAC bid after taking the
10,000-meter track title last spring. John Wallace
and Steven Childres will also look to post
tremendous finishes after putting together quality seasons.
The York women's cross country team embarks on the 2011 Capital Athletic Conference Championships looking to put together a great finish. Senior Mandy Parshall will look to defend her 2010 individual title while sister Misty Parshall will strive for an outstanding finish in her first CAC Championships. The Spartans will also look for quality times from Nicole Danielewicz, Victoria Hall, Tuesday Wilson, and Corie Thompson.