Cross-country preps for Navy invite
The Eagles cross-country teams, projected by Patriot League coaches and sports information directors to repeat as PL champions, prepared for Saturday's Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Md., by finishing strongly in early-season meets that highlighted AU's depth and talent.
The women raced to a second-place finish at Mount St. Mary's, led by winner Keira Carlstrom, a 2003 All-American runner. Kelley Taylor, Zaia Warton and Whitney McNees also finished strong. The incoming class featured notable performances by Juliette Lynch, Cathleen Ford and Kate Lilley.
The men opened their season last weekend at the Georgetown Invitational. Despite missing Sean Duffy, Phil Gaeta and Pat Burford, three of the top performers of the Patriot League during the 2003 season, the men finished third in a competitive field that included Duke, Yale, James Madison and Georgetown universities.
"The team had their best start ever" said head coach Matt Centrowitz.
Pat MacAdie, the 2003 Patriot League champion, led the men's squad with a runner-up finish. The senior captain covered the 4.1-mile course in 20:04. The winner finished 15 seconds ahead of MacAdie.
Following MacAdie were Conor Lanz and Matt Barresi, placing 9th (20:41) and 14th (20:52) respectively. Daniel Beardslee, a 2-mile state champion in high school, has been plagued by injuries throughout most of his running career at AU. But he recorded a breakthrough performance by placing among the top 20 runners, traversing the course in 21:00.
"Daniel finished healthy and happy," Centrowitz said.
Freshman Kris Cruz had an outstanding inaugural meet, placing 21st (21:17).
"Cruz ran very well," Centrowitz said. "I am impressed with his confidence."
Centrowitz said he was also impressed with the newcomers' ability to "step it up." Phil Turner (25th) and Rob Hofmann (32nd) rounded out the Eagles' top seven.
Despite the impressive performances at the Georgetown Invitational, the Eagles expect to enjoy greater success at the upcoming meet.
"All performances were better than expected in [the] first outing," Centrowitz said. "Nevertheless, our training is geared toward the longer races; our performance at [Georgetown] will serve as a tune-up to longer distances."
The course at the Navy Invitational is the usual 8 kilometers. Duffy, Gaeta and Burford are anticipated to compete for the Eagles at this weekend's meet, adding to the team's depth.
"The Navy Invitational is the real test," Centrowitz said. If the stellar performances displayed by both teams so far are any indication of what is to come, expect AU cross country to be ready for the challenge.