CLEMSON, S.C. – The Virginia Tech men’s cross country team placed tied for fourth and the women finished eighth at the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships hosted by Clemson today at Musser Farms. Redshirt junior Will Mulherin finished seventh overall to earn his second career All-ACC honor while fellow redshirt junior Michael Hammond was 10th to earn his first career all-conference honor in cross country.
The Hokie men scored 116 points to finish in a tie with Duke for fourth place in the team race. The men’s fourth place team finish was their second highest since joining the ACC in 2004, eclipsed only in 2008 when they finished third. NC State won the men’s team title with 51 points, bettering Florida State by four points. The women had 180 points as Florida State won the women’s team race with 20 points, sweeping spots two through six.
Leading the way for the men was Mulherin, who finished seventh overall out of 110 total runners in a time of 23:19.3 for the eight kilometer course. He joins Devin Cornwall as the only Hokie men to become two-time All-ACC runners in cross country. Mulherin also finished seventh as a sophomore in 2009. Hammond followed in 10th with a time of 23:45.0 and earned All-ACC honors (top-14) for the first time in cross country.
Freshman Thomas Curtin was third to cross the line for the Hokies as he was 30th in 24:20.3. Junior Jason Cusack (24:23.8) and sophomore Leoule Degfae (24:24.3) finished back-to-back in 34th and 35th to round out Tech’s top-five.
Also competing for the men were redshirt sophomore Jared Berman (42nd, 24:33.0), junior Ryan Hagen (47th, 24:38.4), freshman Brayden Burleigh (52nd, 24:45.2), junior Tihut Degfae (65th, 25:07.5) and junior Joseph Murray (68th, 25:13.1).
Sophomore Taylor Crosson crossed the line first for the Virginia Tech women as she was 26th overall out of 104 total runners in a time of 21:10.5 for the six kilometer race. Senior Sammy Dow was second to finish for Tech, placing 34th in 21:16.8. Sophomore Courtney Dobbs was close behind in 37th (21:19.8), while freshman Sarah Rapp (41st, 21:33.8) and sophomore Madalyn Nuckols (44th, 21:39.9) rounded out the Tech scoring.
Sophomore Paige Kvartunas (52nd, 21:57.0), sophomore Alex Watt (58th, 22:05.8), freshman Ginny Jones (69th, 22:38.7), redshirt sophomore Frances Dowd (71st, 22:48.0) and senior Lauren Pinkston (84th, 23:14.1) also competed for Tech.
The ACC Championship field included eight ranked teams, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) top-30 national poll, including three on the men’s side (No. 18 Florida State, No. 19 NC State and No. 30 North Carolina) and five on the women’s side (No. 1 Florida State, No. 17 Virginia, No. 21 NC State, No. 22 North Carolina and No. 24 Boston College).
Ryan Hill of NC State won the men’s race in 23:06.3 and Kendra Schaaf of North Carolina won the women’s race in 19:45.3.
Tech is back in action on Friday, Nov. 4 as it hosts the Hokie Open on the Tech Cross Country Course. Races begin at 4 p.m. It will be the Hokies final tune-up prior to the NCAA Southeast Regional Meet on Nov. 12 in Louisville, Ky.
For updates on Virginia Tech cross country, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Track).