ACC Teams Fare Well at 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships

Syracuse 3rd in men’s competition, NC State fourth in women’s

Syracuse, led by Justyn Knight’s second-place finish, paced all ACC teams with a third-place finish at the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships held Saturday morning at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course at Wabash Valley Family Sport Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The Orange, paced by two runners in the top 15 and four in the top 40, totaled 164 points en route to finishing in the top five nationally for a third-straight year. Virginia finished 18th and NC State 22nd. For the Cavaliers their 18th place finish was their best since 2013 while the Wolfpack produced its best NCAA result since a 10th place finish in 2011.

NC State, with three runners in the top 40, totaled 223 points en route to a fourth place finish and its second-straight top five performance. Notre Dame, making its sixth-straight NCAA appearance, placed 11th and Louisville was 31st in its’ first-ever NCAA appearance.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. --- For the second-straight year the Syracuse men's cross country team found itself on the podium at the NCAA Championships, finishing third overall behind junior Justyn Knight's national runner-up performance.

For head coach Chris Fox, it's the fourth-straight top-10 finish and third-straight top-five performance for the men's team. Northern Arizona claimed the team title with 125 points, Stanford finished second with 158 points and 'Cuse took third just six points behind the Cardinal.

"Overall I'm really pleased," Fox said. "The guys ran awesome, they took a shot and we had a real good chance to win until late, but things happen, that's part of the sport. To come back after last year and match back up with everyone in the country when no one really thought we could do it is pretty cool."

Knight hung with the lead pack for the duration of the race, eventually making a move with three-time defending NCAA Champion Edward Cheserek of Oregon and Villanova's Patrick Tiernan with little more than 2k remaining. Knight then answered a move by Tiernan, which left Cheserek behind in third. Tiernan kept pushing the tempo, with Knight hanging back 10 meters, eventually coming up just short during his final kick to take national runner up honors.

TERRE HAUTE, IND. - The NC State women's cross country team finished in fourth place at the NCAA Championships at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday. Their finish tops last year's fifth place finish, and marks the Wolfpacks' second highest NCAA finish in history behind the 2001 runner-up finish. The men's team clinched a top-25 finish for the first time since 2011, finishing in 22nd place with 543 points. 

In the women’s team race, only nine points separated the top three teams. Oregon took first place in an upset with 125 points, the ladies of Michigan finished in second place with 126 points and Colorado finished in third with 134 points. The Wolfpack rounded out the top four finishers to earn a spot on the podium with 223 points.

Individually, Senior Erika Kemp led the Wolfpack women with a 17th place finish, completing the 6k race in 20:10.6. Rachel Koon finished close behind in 25th place with a time of 20:15.0. Both runners received All-American honors for finishing in the top 40. 

With a score of 543, the NC State men finished in 22nd, improving from their 28th place finish at the 2015 Championships. Sam Parsons led the Pack with a 51st place finish in 30:33.9. Aubrey Myjer finished as the second Wolfpacker with a 98th place finish in 30:51.5. 

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The University of Louisville women's (60-42, 18-7) cross country team finished 31st at the NCAA Championship while Edwin Kibichiy finished eighth, for the best individual finish in school history.  Kibichiy earned All-American honors for the second time in his career.  

Oregon edged out Michigan to win the women's championship while Missouri's Karissa Schweizer won the individual title. Northern Arizona won the men's championship while Villanova's Patrick Tiernan dethroned Oregon's Edward Cheserek to win the individual championship.  

"Our women's squad has done a tremendous job of moving the program forward throughout the season, said head coach Dale Cowper.  "Today was a solid team effort to finish 31st in the country.  This group has been able to set a new standard for our women's program and we are ecstatic to return 7 of the top 8 runners to next year's team."  
Freshman Dorcas Wasike led the women, finishing 145th with a time of 21:01.9.  Junior Bailey Davis wrapped up a career best season finishing with a time of 21:05.6. 

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Irish sophomore Anna Rohrer is all too familiar with LaVern Gibson Course (Terre Haute, Indiana), racing to a third-place individual finish and guiding the University of Notre Dame women's cross country team to an 11th-place finish on Saturday.

A Mishawaka, Ind., native, Rohrer (19:44.6) set the tone early, running at the front of the pack for roughly the first 5K of the race. Rohrer led her teammates through the 45-degree temperatures and blustery conditions, earning All-America honors for the second consecutive season.

Notre Dame sophomore Annie Heffernan (20:24.5) finished 41st and graduate student Danielle Aragon (20:32.4) crossed the finish line in 52nd.

The 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Champion, Rohrer competed fearlessly in her second career NCAA Cross Country Championship. Leading the pack of 250 runners at the 5K mark, she ran with conviction in the coldest weather conditions the team has experienced all season.

Rohrer's time of 19:44.6 marks the second-fastest NCAA Championship 6K time in Irish women's program history. Molly Seidel owns the top time of 19:28.6, recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, last season.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—The Virginia men’s cross country team finished 18th overall at the NCAA Championships Saturday (Nov. 19) at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.  It was the Cavaliers’ best finish since 2013 when they were 13th.
The Cavaliers finished 18th with 476 points. Northern Arizona captured the team NCAA title with 125 points, followed by Stanford (158), Syracuse (164) and Ole Miss (196).

Redshirt sophomore Brent Demarest (Charleston, S.C.) led the Cavaliers across the line, finishing in 42nd overall in a time of 30:28.6 Senior Zach Herriott (Kansas City, Mo.) was next in 53rd overall in 30:34.1.

“It was a big bounce-back performance from Brent, who was sick at last week’s regional, by just missing an All-American spot (top 40),” UVA men’s cross country coach Pete Watson said. “He put himself in a good position and led the team today as he has all season. Zach ran a terrific second half of the race and we were fortunate for him to come back for a fifth year and be a great leader on this team.”

TERRE HAUTE, IND. — Grace Barnett made history Saturday by becoming the 10th female in Clemson history to earn All-America recognition in cross country following a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The Tiger senior is the first Clemson female since 1990 to be an All-American in cross country.

“It still feels unreal,” Barnett said. “Coach (Michael) Porter prepared me well and I was able to execute the race plan. Everything fell into place at the end. I was 16th or 17th at the 5K mark, but I felt really good at that point.”

Barnett ran the 6,000-meter LaVern Gibson Championship Course with a time of 20:02.4, improving by 37 seconds over her time from the Pre-Nationals event in October on the same course. She averaged 5:22 per mile and was the ACC’s second-best finisher.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – On a cold, blustery race day against the top collegians in the country, Florida State’s Carmela Cardama Baez and Harry Mulenga took opposite approaches to Saturday’s NCAA Cross Country Championship races at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course.

Cardama Baez was battling uphill after a conservative start in the field of 250 finishers, but came on like gang-busters over the final 4000 meters of the 6000-meter race. The sophomore from Spain roared past 84 runners in that span and finished 73rd (20:41.79) in her NCAA Championships debut.

Mulenga, a senior, was front-and-center in a huge lead pack from the outset. The Zambia native was 11th at 3000 meters and 32nd – but very much in the thick of things – at the 5000-meter midway point, but was unable to hang on. Despite a dramatic improvement from last year’s finish (153rd), he came home 82nd overall in 30:45.8.

The end results weren’t what either had hoped for, but then, neither were the conditions. A cold front came through the area Friday night and while the course was dry despite heavy rain, the temperature was 37 degrees at the start of women’s race and the wind chill made it feel like 25.