Men and Women Place Fourth at ACC Cross Country Championships
Oct. 27, 2012
BLACKSBURG, Va. – The NC State men’s and women’s cross country teams both raced to fourth place finishes at the 2012 ACC Championships Saturday morning at the at the Virginia Tech Cross Country Course on Smithfield Plantation. Six Wolfpack runners received All-ACC honors for their performances, while freshman Samantha George was the first freshman finisher in the women's race, earning ACC Women's Cross Country Freshman of the Year.
The men’s team, seeking its third title in four years and a repeat of last year’s championship performance, received an added lift as redshirt junior Andrew Colley made his 2012 debut. Colley was the third overall runner to complete the 8K course, with a time of 23:43.6 to give the Wolfpack an early boost in the point standings, while redshirt senior Matt Sonnenfeldt also notched a top-10 finish in eighth place (23:57.5) and redshirt freshman Graham Crawford finished 14th (24:16.9).
In addition to having half three runners in the top 14, Colley, Sonnenfeldt and Crawford each received All-ACC honors, while Colley received the accolade for the third consecutive year.
"Andrew [Colley] was only six seconds from the win and it was his first race of the season," said men's head coach Rollie Geiger. "It was really positive having three guys named all-conference. It's definitely a step in thre right direction. From where we were against wisconsin to where we are today, we're a completely different team."
Redshirt sophomore Michael Mansy would be the next NC State runner to complete the course with a finish of 24th overall (24:35.2), crossing almost simultaneously with redshirt senior Patrick Campbell, who finished 25th (24:35.6). Redshirt freshman Mitch Mallory followed up with a 24:57.3 time, which was good enough for 39th place, as redshirt junior Robert Andrews finished 40th overall in 25:00.5 and redshirt senior Brian Himelright completed the race 45t overall with a clocking of 25:06.9.'
"The guys are starting to understand what they need to do to be a successful team,” Geiger said. “I think with the addition of Andrew, he's raised everyone’s expectations.”
Host Virginia Tech paced the field to win the ACC crown with 55 points, followed by Virginia (61 points) and Florida State (62 points). The Pack scored 74 points, ahead of Duke, which capped off the top five with 112 points.
The women’s team had three finishers in the top 13, as sophomore Joanna Thompson led the Pack with a seventh place finish in the 6K race, crossing the finish line with a 20:28.7 clocking, followed by outstanding performances by redshirt junior Samantha Norman in 12th place (20:45.6) and George in 13th place (20:46.8) – the conference’s top freshman . With three Wolfpack runners among the first 15 racers to cross the finish line, a championship appeared within reach, but the rest of the field would make its move.
After placing among the top 14 finishers, Thompson, Norman and George earned All-ACC honors, while Thompson received the accolade for the second straight year.
"I think they had really solid races,” said head coach Laurie Henes. “For Sammy to win Freshman of the Year is amazing.”
NC State’s next group of finishers comprised of freshman Kaitlyn Kramer in 26th place (21:15.5), redshirt senior Tiayonna Blackmon in 29th (21:19.2), redshirt freshman Sheridan Jordan in 32nd (21:28.0), along with senior Erin Mercer in 35th (21:34.9). Redshirt junior Halsey Merritt was the Pack’s final runner to cross the finish line in 54th place with a 22:08.0 clocking.
"I think this team is performing at a higher level than in previous years,” Henes stated. “We were a little far back at four and five than we wanted to be, but I think we have the momentum headed in the right direction.”
Top-ranked Florida State claimed its fifth straight ACC title with 35 points, followed by Duke (67 points) and Boston College (82 points). NC State was just four points out of third place with 86 points, as North Carolina rounded out the top five with 152 points.
“Our region is a region that has a lot of pretty good teams, so we're going to keep working on grouping,” Henes said.
NC State will return to action next Saturday, Nov. 3, when it hosts the Three Stripe Invitational in Cary, N.C. Races will be held at the WakeMed Cross Country Course.