CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Virginia Tech cross country teams were in the Queen City today, competing in the Fourth Annual Charlotte Invitational at McAlpine Park, the site of this year’s Southeast Regional Championship. The Hokie men’s A squad had a convincing win in the 8k gold race totaling just 31 points, bettering runner-up Wake Forest by 49 points.
The team’s top five runners all finished in the top 10 with Will Mulherin leading the way with a second-place finish (24:26.32). Leoule Degfae was right behind his teammate in third at 24:26.73. Michael Hammond took eighth (24:46.46) while Ryan Hagen (24:48.91) and Kevin Dowd (24:49.16) finished 10th and 11th respectively.
The Hokie men’s B squad wasn’t scored, but with four runners finishing in the top four (Jason Cusack, Brian Welch, Darren Barlow and Patrick Woodford), Virginia Tech head coach Ben Thomas believes that the team would have finished in the top three.
“I thought the guys ran well today,” Thomas said. “We had a good 1-5 split, I think it was under 30 seconds so not a bad start. It was a good race, a good workout. We came from way back off of the pace to finish pretty strong.”
On the women’s side, Tech’s A team finished in eight place, but Thomas admitted that by moving one runner from his B squad to the A squad, the team would have finished in the top three. The Hokies were led by Sarah Rapp who took sixth with a time of 21:35.46. Alex Watt also recorded a top-10 showing by taking 10th after coming in at 21:51.70. Freshmen Hannah Gray placed 38th (22:43.83) and Ashley Hayes finished 56th (23:01.16). Katherine Sheridan finished 52nd (22:57.93) for the B squad.
“Katherine Sheridan scored for the B team, but if she would have scored for the A side we would have been third or fourth,” Thomas said. “I was pretty happy with how some of the freshmen did, especially Hannah gray, Katherine Sheridan and Ashley Hayes.”
Tech will have one more opportunity to prepare for next month’s ACC Championship. The team will travel to Louisville, Ky., to participate in the Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 13 where competitors will get a chance to compete on this year’s national championship course.
For updates on Virginia Tech cross country, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Track).