Junior Luis Vargas captured a top-three finish at the Southern Conference Cross Country Championship as the Phoenix had a strong showing in Birmingham Ala. The men’s team finished seventh overall while the women’s team finished as runners-up in the event.
Vargas finished with a time of 24:52.92 behind UNCG’s all-American tandem of Paul Chelimo and Paul Katam. Vargas’ third-place finish meant he would end up on the All-Conference team.
Junior Ari Rothschild finished second for the Phoenix with a 31st overall place finish. Rothschild crossed the finish line with a time of 26:16.12. Senior Nick Schneider (35th, 26:30.07), senior James Stevenson (46th, 27:08.14), freshman Ian O’Leary (52nd, 27:22.08) and sophomore Ryan Gwaltney (55th, 27:48.00) rounded out the lineup for the maroon and gold.
The Paladins of Furman University captured the men’s title with 48 points, knocking off defending champions Appalachian State University, who finished with 63 points.
On the women’s side, senior Allyson Oram once again led the way for the Phoenix. The Marlborough, Mass. native finished fifth overall, clocking in with a time of 17:56.74 in the 5K race. Sophomore Elyse Bierut also cracked the top 10, as her time of 18:14.62 was good enough for ninth place. Sophomore Tereza Novotna (11th, 18:29.46), junior Haylee Dawe (12th, 18:29.84), freshman Kimberly Johansen (13th, 18:35.33), sophomore Kaitlin Snapp (18th, 18:41.12), junior Jenny Gallagher (34th, 19:07.03) and freshman Shelby Cuddeback (38th, 19:11.62) rounded out the women’s lineup.
Furman also captured the women’s crown with 48 points, just edging out the Phoenix who finished with 50 points.
Only two races remain for the Phoenix as select runners will race at the N.C. State Three Stripe Invitational Nov. 9. The teams will also compete at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Nov. 15, which will be held in Charlottesville, Va.