WASHINGTON – After two weeks off from competition, the American University cross country team was back on the course on Saturday as they took part in the largest cross country meet in the U.S. with the Paul Short Run.
The men opened the day with their first true 8,000-meter run of the season, placing 29th in the field of 41 teams in the gold race. The women followed with a 30th-place finish out of 41.
- Among the highlights for the day was senior Adriana Hooks who led the women's squad with a 30th-place individual finish in a stacked field that featured two nationally-ranked programs and six top-15 teams in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Hooks, who earned a personal record (PR) on this course last season (21:14.60), crossed in 21:33 on Saturday.
- Junior Arianna Lopez (122nd), senior Brianna Belo (133rd), freshman Clare Hernandez (217th) and sophomore Shelbi Wuss (287th) rounded out the top-five scorers for the Eagle women.
- On the men's side, senior Matthew Rainey paced AU's pack with a 72nd-place crossing in 25:27. Senior Liam Purdy (151st), senior Ben Doiron (159th), sophomore Max Lustig (165th) and freshman Aidan Caggiano (246th) comprised the top-five scored finishers for the Eagles.
- Lustig, along with junior Katelyn Deibler on the women's side, earned the team's only two PR's on the day. Lustig crossed with a final time of 26:02 over 8k while Deibler navigated the 6k course in 23:59.
HEAR FROM COACH GRAHAM
"Sometimes you have to just call it like it is, and today on the men's side we got beat handily both mentally and physically. The men's team is much better than they performed today, and I know they will show it next time we race. We have clear things to work on and to improve on, and they'll be fixed by the next time our jerseys are worn.
"On the women's side, it wasn't our best day but we had some very strong performances. Adriana led the charge placing 30th in an incredibly talented field, over 60 places lower than her finish at this race last year. And she was followed by strong performances by Brianna Belo and Arianna Lopez. After that, we got a little overwhelmed by the sheer numbers in the race; a little more aggressive of a start would have yielded a much better tram score. In the races to come, this won't be an issue for the women.
"We have a nice two-week break to make these changes then will head to Princeton to prove who we really are. These teams will be good this year."
The Eagles will take next weekend off before traveling to their final regular season meet of the season at the Princeton Invitational on Friday, Oct. 12. AU will open postseason competition at the Patriot League Championships in Lewisburg, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 27, before heading to State College, Pa., for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship on Friday, Nov. 9.
For the latest on American University Cross Country, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.
RESULTS – MEN
TEAM – 29th, 743 points
72. Matthew Rainey, 25:27 // 151. Liam Purdy, 25:57 // 159. Ben Doiron, 25:59 // 165. Max Lustig, 26:02 PR // 246. Aidan Caggiano, 26:38 // 338. John Pagliaro, 27:38 // 339. Caleb Brown, 27:38 // 340. Gerard D'Ambrosio, 27:38 // 349. Michael Weidenbruch, 28:11
RESULTS – WOMEN
TEAM – 30th, 728 points
30. Adriana Hooks, 21:33 // 122. Arianna Lopez, 22:22 // 133. Brianna Belo, 22:25 // 217. Clare Hernandez, 23:00 // 287. Shelbi Wuss, 23:44 // 305. Katelyn Deibler, 23:59 PR // 311. Kassidy Ayres, 24:06 // 331. Elise Hooker, 24:45