Oct. 27, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Meghan Braffet placed 18th to post the University of Maryland's best individual finish as the Terrapins finished ninth in the team standings for both men and women Saturday at the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Championships hosted by the University of Virginia.
Sophomores Greg Kelsey and Ben Diestel continued their trend of running together to highlight the Maryland men's race, with Kelsey finishing the 8-kilometer course at Panorama Farms in 24 minutes, 56.7 seconds to place 24th, with Diestel in 29th at 25:06.7. Kelsey was 54th a year ago as a freshman, while Diestel improved this year on last season's 47th-place finish at ACCs.
The Maryland men posted their best team finish since 2004, scoring 206 points and placing ninth. The Terps were 11 points behind Boston College and only 13 behind the seventh-place finish of Wake Forest.
"Our best runner last year finished 30th," said Maryland head coach Andrew Valmon. "This year, we had two guys place better than that. Both Greg and Ben hit personal records this year. We also got a strong race from Joe (Simpson), who came up big for us to finish in the third spot."
Virginia outdueled NC State, 32-39, for the team title on the men's side, with the host Cavaliers putting four runners in the top six. NC State senior Chris Kollar won the individual title in 24:02.1, ahead of Andy Biladeau of Virginia in second at 24:08.3.
Also for Maryland, Joe Simpson was 44th (25:35.7), Richie Booth had his best ACC finish in three tries by placing 48th (25:45.5) and Mike Cator was Maryland's last scorer, placing 61st (26:05.7). Kevin Gahr was 67th (26:13.9), Alex Lundy was 68th (26:15.4) and Drew Abernathy was 71st (26:21.8).
"I think the key is our top three guys all P-R'ed," said Valmon. "They're only sophomores, so we have a bright future for these guys."
Braffet covered the 6-kilometer women's course in 21:51.5. Her bid to earn All-ACC status with a top-15 finish fell only 11 seconds short. Braffet also finished 18th at last year's conference championship and has led the Terps to the finish line three times in her four ACC cross country races.
"Meghan had a tough start," said Maryland distance coach Terry Weir. "She fell behind a lot of folks early. By the time she really got going, it was a little late. She caught a lot of people and competed very well."
The Maryland women were ninth in the team standings with 236 points, improving on last year's 10th-place finish and cutting 25 points off last year's total.
Sophomore Erin Matyus was the Terps' next finisher, placing 41st in 22:49.1. Freshman Angeli Sivaraman placed 53rd in 23:09.7. The Terrapins' next five runners finished in a pack, with Christina Nelson in 63rd (23:34.6), Lindsay Ritchings in 64th (23:36.4), Libby Babcock in 67th (23:47.2), Kylynn McKinley in 70th (23:55.3) and Kristin Reed in 72nd (24:04.1).
"I think we're going in the right direction with a young team," said Valmon. "We had a freshman finish in the third spot, and Matyus, Nelson and Ritchings are sophomores. We have a very young team, we're recruiting well and we're building some depth. We left some people at home who have been strong for us in the past."
Sophomore Susan Kuijken of Florida State was the individual champion, finishing in 20:23.5. She won by 13 seconds over Emily Harrison of Virginia.
Florida State had two runners in the top six and four runners in the top 17 to earn the team title with 64 points. NC State was second at 102 with Boston College in third at 106.
Maryland next competes in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Nov. 10 at Lehigh, Pa.
WOMEN'S TEAM STANDINGS
1. Florida State 64, 2. NC State 102, 3. Boston College 106, 4. North Carolina 118, 5. Virginia Tech 121, 6. Duke 123, 7. Wake Forest 127, 8. Virginia 160, 9. MARYLAND 236, 10. Clemson 257, 11. Georgia Tech 277, 12. Miami 390.
WOMEN'S 6K INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (First five and Terrapin finishers)
1. Susan Kuijken, Florida State, 20:23.5; 2. Emily Harrison, Virginia,20:36.6; 3. Brianna Felnagle, North Carolina, 20:52.5; 4. Tasmin Fanning, Virginia Tech, 20:57.7; 5. Brittany Tinsley, NC State, 21:11.4... 18. Meghan Braffet, Maryland, 21:51.5; 41. Erin Matyus, Maryland, 22:49.1; 53. Angeli Sivaraman, Maryland, 23:09.7; 63. Christina Nelson, Maryland, 23:34.6; 64. Lindsay Ritchings, Maryland, 23:36.4; 67. Libby Babcock, Maryland, 23:47.2; 70. Kylynn McKinley, Maryland, 23:55.3; 72. Kristin Reed, Maryland, 24:04.1.
MEN'S TEAM STANDINGS
1. Virginia 32, 2. NC State 39, 3. Florida State 130, 4. Clemson 137, 5. Virginia Tech 139, 6. Duke 156, 7. Wake Forest 193, 8. Boston College 195, 9. MARYLAND 206, 10. North Carolina 246, 11. Georgia Tech 271, 12. Miami 381.
MEN'S 8K INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
1. Chris Kollar, NC State, 24:02.1; 2. Andy Biladeau, Virginia, 24:08.3; 3. Ryan Foster, Virginia, 24:10.6; 4. Emil Heineking, Virginia, 24:12.6; 5. Boston College, 24:16.1... 24. Greg Kelsey, Maryland, 24:56.7; 29. Ben Diestel, Maryland, 25:06.7; 44. Joe Simpson, Maryland, 25:35.7; 48. Richie Booth, Maryland, 25:45.5; 61. Mike Cator, Maryland, 26:05.7; 67. Kevin Gahr, Maryland, 26:13.9; 68. Alex Lundy, Maryland, 26:15.4; 71. Drew Abernathy, Maryland, 26:21.8.