The WWC Women's Team finished 3rd Overall
The WWC Men's Team finished 4th Overall
Individual Results for Teams
Women's 6km Championship Race (placing, time)
Men's 8k Championship Race
For the second year, the USCAA was held at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista, VA. And like last year, the course proved to be a real, in your face, more European, true cross country course. In a sport that sees more races on perfectly manicured golf courses, it is nice to see a course that presents real challenges. The nationals course included open fields and nice flats, but also some good single track trails, rolling hills, dirt roads, rutted downhill and one monster 1/4 mile uphill. With a mix of terrain, the USCAA Nationals proved to be about not only pace, but good tactics and strategy.
The women ran the first race of the day. The course was 6km, rather than the standard 5km run throughout the season. At race start the temperature was in the 40's and a light drizzle had set in. From the start, the pace was set by a runner from Lyndon State at a fast sub-6 minute mile. Holding on for some fast first splits for WWC were Aubrey Delone and Christine Hulburt both going sub- 7 for the first mile. Mile two presented a serious challenge, a hill that progressively steepens over a quarter of a mile. This hill separated the pack and helped determine who was having a good day or not so good day. Aubrey and Christine topped the hill looking strong (strong as you could after climbing a couple hundred feet in such a short distance). They were followed closely by Amy, Meredith and Emily. At this point, it was obvious that WWC, with only five team members, was in the race. With a good recovery across rolling hills, Aubrey found her stride and pulled away into her own pace. Christine followed looking really strong coming into the 4km. Working together Amy and Meredith also found their stride and pulled up into good position. Coming out of the single track woods section of the course, the WWC Women's Team was in good position with only 2km to go. Aubrey inched up on the field, while Christine held a good consistant pace. Amy began to move forward, quickly followed by Meredith. Coming into the finish, Aubrey and Christine held their positions in 16th and 19th both going under 30 minutes on a challenging course. Amy and Meredith followed in the 30th and 32nd position, Meredith overcoming one challenger at the finish. Emily Bringham pulled up during the last kilometer to take the 38th position in the race. This put the team one point up on the 4th place team, and giving the WWC Women's XC Team the 3rd Place Nationals Finish.
The men toed up to the line this year with the largest USCAA Nationals men's field ever. Dine from New Mexico was there again, and the Southern Virginia team who had the course memorized. The pace was set by a Dine team member who was rabbiting (setting a pace) for his other teammates. Their top five crossing the first mile mark right at a 5-minute pace. For WWC, Chaz Biederman and Kevin Lane were setting a blistering pace, both coming across the first mile at around 5:30 pace. Will Franklin followed only by a few seconds and both Tal Gould and Geoffrey Steen came in with a sub-6 minute first mile. The second mile, like the women's race, presented the field of runners with the courses main challenge, a hill. This is not just a hill, this is the L'Alpe D'Huez of the race. And like the mountain stages of the Tour de France, the race is largely determined by how well you surmount this hill and then recover to bring it home in the flats. Although all of us liked to talk this course down, the course lends itself well to strategy. Both Chaz and Kevin ran their own pace up the hill, and worked their way into position on the rolling ridgeline at the top. Training in Asheville has it's benefits when it comes to recovering quickly after a hill. Chaz pulled into position entering the woods section of the course with no one to challenge his pace. Kevin did the same. Coming out at the 4km point both Chaz and Kevin were in the race, still running on pace and looking towards a sub- 6 minute per mile race. Will Franklin soon emerged from the single track woods section in a tight pack of runners. Will broke into his stride and worked into a 6 minute mile pace. Doing what Will does when he senses the finish is closer, he started picking through and passing a good number of runners in the field. Meanwhile, Geoffrey was determined to get one of the best times of his season dispite the hilly course. He emerged from the single track mid- field and it became evident that WWC is truly in this race against some serious competition. Geoffrey set a good solid pace for the flats. Tal emerged only seconds behind, and set a terrific pace for someone who less than a week prior ran a 3 hour marathon in Chicaco (what did you do on your Fall Break?). Legs evidently heavy, Tal set a pace where he can manage the pain. Coming to the finish, Chaz dropped the pace significantly and pulled up on the field. Negative splits from mile three to five…..perfect. Chaz managed his way through the field of runners, followed by Kevin doing the same. Chaz was well under the 30 minute sub- 6 minute pace and took a 29:32 on the season's most challenging course. Kevin followed with a 30:02 right under 6 minute mile pace for the 8k (5.1 mile)course. Will came in with a blistering sprint and held off a tough challenger for his sub- 31 minute finish. Geoffrey finished 4th for the WWC men's team with a great time of 32:46. And Tal placed the WWC team in 4th position overall with a couragous finish after a huge effort on extremely tired legs.
Congratulations to the teams and the high finishes. In true WW style, every place, everyone counted and played their part in making this years National meet successful for the WWC XC Team. If you see one of these student athletes around campus today, congratulate them for their efforts and for their remarkable finish.