Herd Races to Solid Showing at NCAA Regionals|
Nov. 9, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Marshall University cross country teams ran in their final meets of the season at Penn State University on Friday afternoon, competing against some of the top teams in the area at the 2012 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals.
Following a Conference USA Championships performance that saw the women’s team run to its best-ever placement, and the men’s team cement its place as one of the top-5 teams in the league, expectations were high for two Thundering Herd squads that had improved through almost every meet this season.
Friday’s meet turned out to be no different, as every member of the women’s team ran to a new lifetime best in the 6k regional race. Sophomore Celia Leonard once again led the pack for Marshall, trotting to a 50th place time of 22:03. Junior Leslie Thomas was not far behind, ending the race in 60th with a time of 22:12.
“Our girls ran an awesome race,” said head coach Jeff Small. “Every single girl ran her lifetime best and helped the team improve on last year’s 24th place finish. Celia once again led the team, and Leslie ran her best race of the season to finish right behind her.”
Together, the two ladies helped propel the team to a top-20, 19th place finish that was five spots better than their 2011 placement. Kelley Mortakis (23:08), Alexandra Phares (23:48), Lauren Bartoldson (24:15), Julia Galloway (24:27), and Sammantha Stroker (24:56) also contributed to the effort with career-best times of their own. For Mortakis, the lone senior on the women’s team, it was a good way to end a memorable cross country career that has seen her finish at the upper-end of the Marshall pack for the last two seasons.
On the men’s side, David Caldwell and Ryan Bowser were the representative seniors, and both ran hard to secure top-3 finishes amongst the Herd runners. Caldwell finished second on the team and 75th overall in the field of 170 runners with a 10k time of 32:15. Bowser was third on the team and 84th overall after crossing the line in 32:30.
Junior Peter Starnes ran to his best finish of the season to lead the Marshall men on the afternoon, outpacing Caldwell by two seconds to finish 72nd overall with a time of 32:13. Freshman Brian Salmons (33:06), sophomore Jack Whitney (33:18), sophomore Caleb Bowen (34:10), and freshman Jordan Brown-Stobbe (35:56) rounded out the finishers for a Herd team that concluded the race in 16th overall.
“David Caldwell went very hard for the first half of the race in an effort to make the all-region team, but faded over the second half of it,” said Small. “I have to take my hat off to Peter Starnes, though, for leading the Herd today in his best race as a collegian. For the guys to have the season they did after graduating four seniors a season ago is quite an accomplishment.”
Complete results of team and individual finishes may be found by clicking the links below.