Senior Luis Vargas of the men’s cross country team became Elon University’s first-ever champion in the Colonial Athletic Association when he crossed the finish line on Saturday, Nov. 1. With a school record-breaking time at the CAA Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park, Vargas claimed the first place finish and etched his name in school history.
Vargas won his fifth race of the season nearly a minute ahead of the competition with a school record-breaking time of 24:11.37 in the 8K race. He was also named the league’s Most Outstanding Performer.
This title marks the first championship of any kind in the CAA for the Phoenix and also crowns Vargas as the program’s first conference champion at the Division I level.
Elon senior Ari Rothschild also had an impressive finish at the top of the pack in fifth place with a personal-record time of 25:12.28. The next Phoenix runner to cross the finish line was Junior Ryan Gwaltney at 26:29.73 in 27th followed by senior Adam Bernstein at 26:32.56 in 29th. Sam Geha (37th, 26:52.78) and Reed Payne (38th, 27:02.68) came in next.
With 85 points, the Elon men’s team finished third overall at the meet behind the College of William and Mary and Northeastern University. The Tribe won its 16th consecutive CAA title with 36 points followed by host Northeastern with 48 points.
The Phoenix women finished second overall at the meet, tallying 46 points. William and Mary also took the title on the women’s side for the third straight season finishing with 35 points.
In the 6K race, senior Tereza Novotna was the first runner to cross the finish line for Elon. Her fifth place finish broke the school record with a time of 21:08.37. Senior Jenny Gallagher finished right behind her at 21:10.91, setting a new personal record with the sixth-place finish. Junior Elyse Bierut was one of the top 10 women’s runners when she crossed the line at 21:41.06 while sophomore Kimberly Johansen finished at 21:44.47 for an 11th place finish. The next group for finish for the Phoenix were Emily Dunne (14th, 21:59.98), Kaitlin Snapp (18th, 22:17.24) and Haylee Dawe (19th, 22:8.38).
Elon will be back on the course on Nov. 8 where a select group of runners will compete at the NC State Three Stripe Invitational. The Phoenix will then compete at the NCAA Southeast Regionals on Nov. 14 in Louisville, Kentucky.