CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Richmond cross country teams completed their final conference tune-up on Friday when they traveled to Charlottesville, Va., for Virginia's Panorama Farms Invitational. The Spider women finished sixth in the nine-team field, while the men combined for a seventh-place showing ahead of a pair of squads.
"We were much improved over two weeks ago," said head men's coach Steve Taylor. "Our men went out, put themselves into position and looked really good through 6K. They ran as a team and by the end held a 45-second split between our 1-5 and a 48-second split between our 1-8. Obviously, we want and need to move that forward 20-25 seconds. That's our best split of the season. We have yet to run a complete race, but the progress is coming at the right time as our championship season begins in two weeks."
In the men's 8k race, junior Chris York (White Post, Va./Clarke County) crossed the tape in a time of 25:37.49 to pace the Spiders with a 27th-place finish, while freshman Andrew Valenski (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) clocked a time of 25:58.25 to take 39th. Freshman Billy Fayette (Clarendon Hills, Ill./Hinsdale) finished in 46th with a time of 26:09.98 and junior Conor Phelan (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland) finished in 56th with a time of 26:23.17.
"Chris York was a leader out there today," added Taylor. "He went to the front pack and put his nose in it. Our three freshmen (Andrew Valenski, Billy Fayette and Matthew Groff) also looked good. Valenski was tough and moved up well from 2K-6K. Adam Owens and Conor Phelan also looked like new men today. Even though we didn't close it the last 2K, our men are certainly capable and getting closer to where we need to be.
On the women's side, sophomore Jill Prentice (Skillman, N.J./Montgomery) turned in ninth-place finish with a time of 21:36.68 to pace the Spider pack for the third time this season. Junior Stephanie Paradis (Leesburg, Va./Stone Bridge) took 17th with a time of 22:12.68, while sophomore Roxanne Henningson (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Greenwich) clocked a 23:07.12 for 34th.
Others scoring for the Spiders were sophomore Amanda Lineberry in 41st (23:21.08), freshman Clare Moretz in 45th (23:32.43), senior Beth Kelly in 46th (23:35.12) and sophomore Alli Mannon in 53rd (23:57.49).
"Like our men's team, our women looked better today than two weeks ago," said Director of Track & Field Lori Taylor. "We still need to move up, but we had a 59-second split between our 1-6.
I wanted to see progress and felt our women made some here today. Jill Prentice looked good through 4K and Stephanie Paradis also ran
really well. She was 90 seconds faster than she ran here two years ago.
We recognize how important it is to be a team not only off the course
but also while our team is racing. They are getting closer to realizing
exactly what that means. We have two weeks until our Atlantic 10 Conference Championships when we want to be at our best."
Both Spider squads return to action on Saturday, Oct. 29 in Charlotte, where they look to defend their Atlantic 10 Championship titles. For more in-depth news and notes on the programs, please visit Coach Taylor's blog and Twitter page.
Spider Men's Finishers
27. Chris York, 25:37.49
39. Andrew Valenski, 25:58.25
46. Billy Fayette, 26:09.98
56. Conor Phelan, 26:23.17
57. Adam Owens, 26:23.44
59. Matthew Groff, 26:25.63
60. Jason Skipper, 26:26.81
Spider Women's Finishers
9. Jill Prentice, 21:36.68
17. Stephanie Paradis, 22:12.68
34. Roxanne Henningson, 23:07.12
41. Amanda Lineberry, 23:21.08
45. Clare Moretz, 23:32.43
46. Beth Kelly, 23:35.12
53. Alli Mannon, 23:57.49