Virginia posts first top-10 NCAA Championships finish since 2013

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

With a spirited performance, the Virginia women’s cross country team finished off an incredible season with a race that saw the Cavaliers finish ninth at the NCAA Championships, marking the fifth time in program history that the Cavalier women have finished in the nation’s top 10. The Virginia men closed their season out finishing 22nd after returning to the national meet for the first time in two seasons on Saturday morning at the Greiner Family Cross Country Course.

A Virginia women’s team that was seemingly a season-long underdog found itself once again proving on-lookers wrong as the Cavaliers were off and running at the NCAA Championship for the first time since the 2015 season. The Cavalier’s determination showed through early as adversity struck within the first kilometer when Camryn Menninger, one of UVA’s lead runners, lost a shoe after being clipped by a competitor.As they have done all season long, the Cavaliers powered through and kept themselves within touching distance of the top-10 throughout the race positioning themselves at 11th heading into the final stages of the competition.

With just under five kilometers run in the women’s 6k race, Virginia made its move. Mia Barnett sat in 62nd place with just one kilometer to go and with a powerful kick, propelled herself past a pack of her competitors and crossed the finish line first for Virginia in 44th place with a time of 20:15.3. Less than a second later, Barnett was followed by Atkinson in 46th place with her time of 20:15.9. Rounding out the scoring positions for the Cavaliers were Margot Appleton (55th), Anna Workman (65th) and Esther Seeland (114th). Menninger crossed sixth among Cavaliers after running the final five kilometers with just one shoe.

The Cavalier men made their first appearance in the NCAA Championships since the 2019 season after securing an automatic qualifying position just one week prior at the southeast regionals. The Cavaliers finished in 22nd place in the 10k led to the finish line by Derek Johnson (105th) followed by Will Anthony (129th), Justin Wachtel (136th) Wes Porter (143rd) and Yasin Sado (148th) to round out the scoring.

FROM DIRECTOR OF TRACK AND FIELD VIN LANANNA:

“Our women were excellent today. Finishing ninth at the NCAA Championships demonstrates the commitment to the process of building a national-caliber program and they just took a meteoric step forward in that process as they established themselves among the nation’s best. On the men’s side we came here after being disappointed that we didn’t qualify last year. This season we qualified with a young team consisting of three first years in our top seven. We look forward to hosting this meet next season.

CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES

  • The women’s No. 9 finish marks the fifth top-10 finish in program history, and their first since 2013
  • Mia Barnett led Virginia to the finish in 44th place, just four places from All-American status
  • The program’s combined finish of 31 marked the best since 2013
  • UVA’s women were one of four ACC teams to make the top-10
  • The Virginia men returned to the NCAA Championship meet for the first time since the 2019 season while the women made their first appearance since 2015
  • The last time UVA’s men’s and women’s teams both qualified for the NCAA Championships was in 2015
 

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