William & Men Men Race to Third at Great American

CARY, NC - Four-time reigning CAA Champion William and Mary men's cross country raced to a strong third in the 8,000m Race of Champions at the Great American Cross Country Festival Friday evening, beating out Southeast Regional rivals Duke and Virginia in the process, whom the Tribe will battle later in the season for an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship. Additionally with 122 points, the split-squad Tribe finished only 25 points shy of runner-up No. 8 N. C. State, another Southeast Regional power. No. 6 Michigan just edged the Wolfpack for the team title with 92 points. Even with a split squad, the consistent depth of the Tribe was apparent throughout the race as the College was the only other team besides the victorious No. 6 Wolverines which placed all of its scoring five among the top-35 points paying positions.

Senior Jeff Hedley (Virginia Beach, VA) finished a solid 15th overall against the elite field in the Race of Champions to pace the squad, clocking a 25:00.58. Sophomore Keith Bechtol (Alexandria, VA) and junior Matt Keally (Virginia Beach, VA) each had strong season debuts, with Bechtol claiming 19th at 25:12.22 and Keally taking 24th at 25:19.47. Freshman Ian Fitzgerald (Glenshaw, PA) also impressed in 29th place with his time of 25:23.65, ahead of Jason Schoener (Grand Blanc, MI) in 37th and senior Pat Comstock (Portsmouth, VA) in 41st.

The Tribe also fared well in the 8,000m open race as freshman Jared Campbell (Franklin, IN) claimed fifth with a 26:23.81 while redshirt freshman Jonna Reinhardt (Williamsburg, VA) followed closely behind in eighth at 26:30.52. The College did not participate in team scoring in the open race.

Reigning CAA Coach of the Year Alex Gibby was pleased with the Tribe's performance, especially given the team held out some of its top runners. "Overall, we ran a great race and it was a good early season result. It's probably our last split squad of the year as we'll get everyone together for Pre-Nationals, but I was very pleased to perform so well without some of our guys and to score well against ranked and regional competition."

The Tribe has a two-week break before contesting the NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Indiana and the team's own Tribe Open on October 16.

Top 5 Teams – Race of Champions
1 Michigan 92
2 NC State 97
3 William & Mary 122
4 Adams State College 126
5 Central Michigan U. 173

Top 5 Individuals: Race of Champions
1 Josh McDougal Liberty U 24:00.91
2 Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott New Mexico 24:12.48
3 Nate Brannen Michigan 24:25.89
4 Bobby Mack NC State 24:26.21
5 Will Christian Virginia 24:32.65

W&M Individuals – Race of Champions
15 Jeff Hedley W&M 25:00.58
19 Keith Bechtol W&M 25:12.22
24 Matt Keally W&M 25:19.47
29 Ian Fitzgerald W&M 25:23.65
37 Jason Schoener W&M 25:39.01
41 Pat Comstock W&M 25:44.32
56 Adam Otstot W&M 26:00.58
83 Dan Nally W&M 26:29.18
95 Steve Hoogland W&M 26:45.17

Top Five Individuals - Open Race
1 Fredy Torres Unattached 26:01.78
2 Tibor Vegh Unattached 26:07.37
3 Dan Murray Michigan 26:11.34
4 Matt Kassouf NC State 26:22.81
5 Jared Campbell William & Mary 26:23.81

Other W&M individuals - Open Race
8 Jonna Reinhardt William & Mary 26:30.52