Goldman, Riley win at Hokie Open

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech runners Andrew Goldman and Tessa Riley each won their first collegiate races, as the Hokies’ cross country squads competed in the Hokie Open held Thursday at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course on Tech’s campus.

Goldman, a redshirt sophomore from Herndon, Virginia, ran a 6K version of the course in a time of 18 minutes, 12.9 seconds. His previous career-best finish was seventh at the George Mason Invitational last year.

Goldman beat teammate Daniel Rau by 3.7 seconds. Ashkan Mohammadi, Baron Kieffer and Andrew Eason rounded out the top five. The only other men’s team in the event was Radford.

“It was a very good day for us,” Tech cross country coach Ben Thomas said of his men’s team. “We got a lot done. One of the things we were looking for was to determine our seventh and eighth spots for the regionals. We’ve got some decisions to make. All the guys ran strong. We had some fast times, and I’m really happy with their effort. It was a little bit of a smaller race [in terms of teams and runners], but they still stayed focused and worked it to the end.”

On the women’s side, Riley ran near the front most of the race and then pulled away, running a 4K version of the course in a time of 13:38.1. She edged Tennessee’s Megan Murray by 3.7 seconds and bested her previous career-best finish of second, which happened at this same event last year. Tech’s Rachel Pocratsky and Jennifer Fleming came in third and fourth, respectively, while Tennessee’s Peighton Meske was fifth.

Seven of the Hokies’ runners finished in the top 10, allowing the Hokies to win the team competition.

“Tessa’s had some tough breaks, being sick at the wrong time and missing a meet here and missing a meet there,” Thomas said. “She definitely earned her spot at regionals today. She ran a strong time and ran a good race from start to finish. I feel like she wants to go out and get the team to nationals.

“Rachel Pocratsky ran her best 4K. It was the same thing with the girls as with the men. I asked for good effort, and we won. It’s always good to defend your home turf and the ladies did that today.”

Most of the Hokies’ top runners on both squads sat out the meet. That contingent will run next Friday at the NCAA’s Southeast Regional, which will be held at Panorama Farms outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. The first race starts at 11 a.m.

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