PREVIEWING THE MEET
The Atlantic Coast Conference kicks off the 2012 Fall Championship schedule on Saturday, October 27, with the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships held at the Virginia Tech Cross Country Course at Smithfield Plantation in Blacksburg, Va. The women’s 6k race will start at 10:00 a.m., followed by the men’s 8k competition at 10:50 a.m.
The women’s race will feature three schools ranked in the top 30 of the weekly USTFCCCA poll. For the second-straight year Florida State enters the championship as the nation’s top-ranked team. The Seminoles are followed by Duke 11th and Boston College 26th.
On the men’s side, Florida State enters Saturday’s competition as the highest ranked ACC team at No. 14 nationally, while Duke is 18th and Virginia Tech 21st.
At last year’s conference’s championship in Clemson, S.C., Florida State captured its fourth-straight ACC women’s crown out-distancing Boston College by a solid 59-point margin (20-to-79). In the men’s competition, NC State claimed its second league crown in three years and its 16th overall, edging second-place Florida State by four points (51-to-55).
The Seminoles did not produce the individual champion on the women’s side, but their top five runners all finished between second and sixth place to total 20 points. Amanda Winslow led Florida State as the individual runner-up with a 6k time of 20:12.3, followed immediately by Hannah Brooks (20:16.8), Jessica Parry (20:20.9), Violah Lagat (20:22.4) and Colleen Quigley (20:32.9).
Kendra Schaaf of North Carolina ran away with the individual women’s title, her first ACC championship in cross country. She breezed to a 6k time of 19:45.3, easily breaking the course record at Clemson’s Musser Farms venue. Nine of the top 14 finishers from a year ago are slated to participate Saturday.
Led by the 1-2 finish of Ryan Hill and Andrew Colley, NC State placed five runners in the top 17 en route to capturing the ACC’s men’s cross country title. Rollie Geiger’s Wolfpack totaled 51 points, edging second-place Florida State (55) by four points, North Carolina (84) was third while Virginia Tech and Duke tied for fourth with 116 points.
In becoming the 12th ACC individual champion from NC State, Hill set a course record, finishing the 8k race in 23:06.1. Colley was close behind at 23:09.2. NC State’s final three scorers placed 15th through 17th, giving the Wolfpack the four-point edge over defending champion Florida State. Led by Colley, eight of the men’s top 14 finishers in 2011 will compete Saturday.
HOKIES TAKE SIXTH AT PRE-NATS
• In the most competitive field that Tech had seen this season, the Hokie men came away with a sixth place finish great results from Will Mulherin (6th) and Leoule Degfae (19th). Tech topped No. Tulsa as well as several other highly-acclaimed squads en route to the finish at E.P. Tom Sawyer National Park in Louisville, Ky.
• The impressive showing moved the Hokies into the national picture. After previously being unranked, Tech jumped to No. 21 in the national rankings the following week.
HOKIE MEN CLAIM CHARLOTTE INVITATIONAL
• In only their second scored meet of the season, the Hokies earned their first team win of the season at the Charlotte Invitational. The top five runners for the Hokies all finished in the top 11, Will Mulherin and Leoule Degafe finishing second and third. Finishing in eighth, 10th and 11th were Michael Hammond, Ryan Hagen and Kevin Dowd.
TECH IN THE RANKINGS
• In the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) NCAA National Cross Country rankings, the Hokie men are currently ranked No. 21. It marks highest ranking for the team in more than a decade.
• In the Southeast region, the Tech men are third while the women are ninth.
• This season, Virginia Tech will have the opportunity to train on the conference’s championship course as Virginia Tech will host the ACC Championship on Oct. 27.
• On Sept. 28, Tech will travel to the Charlotte Invitational in Charlotte, N.C., where the team will compete on this year’s regional championship course at McAlpine Park. The women will compete on the exact regional course while the men will run on a shortened version of the regional course.
• On Oct. 13, the Hokies will travel to the Louisville Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky., where they will compete on the course that will host the NCAA Championship.
• Redshirt senior Will Mulherin returns after earning All-America honors a year ago. On at the 10k course at the LaVerne Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind., Mulherin ran a career-best time of 29:58.1.
• With the feat, he became Tech’s first All-American since 1989 (Brian Walter), which was also the last time a Hokie ran at the NCAA meet.
• The Hokie men welcome back all seven competitors from last season’s squad that took fourth at the Southeast Regional. The team includes All-American Will Mulherin and All-Region performer, Michael Hammond.
For updates on Virginia Tech cross country, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Track).