LEWISBURG, Pa. – The American University cross country men and women both placed sixth in a rainy Patriot League Championship meet to open postseason competition on Saturday.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Eagles were led by All-Patriot League finishes with senior Adriana Hooks on the women's side and senior Matthew Rainey on the men's.
- Hooks battled well with the front pack in adverse conditions, navigating the soggy 6,000-meter course in 21:55.20 to improve on her 2017 finish with a third-place overall crossing. This is the third All-Patriot League finish for Hooks, and the second-consecutive top-five placing at the league's cross country championship meet.
- Senior Brianna Belo and junior Arianna Lopez followed with top-30 individual finishes. Belo closed in 27th overall to knock 11 places off last year's performance while Lopez crossed 42 places ahead of her finish last year in 28th.
- Freshman Clare Hernandez was the Eagles' fourth finisher in 35th-place while senior Kassidy Ayres rounded out the AU scorers in 79th overall.
- On the men's side, Rainey also repeated his All-Patriot League finish from last year, improving by one place to cross in ninth overall on the wet 8,000-meter course (26:11.3).
- Classmate Ben Doiron recovered after losing his footing in the mud to place second for the team and 24th overall.
- Junior Gerard D'Ambrosio III stepped up in a big way for the Eagles as the team's third finisher in 37th overall. Senior Liam Purdy and sophomore Max Lustig rounded out AU's top-five scorers in 47th and 56th, respectively.
HEAR FROM COACH GRAHAM
"It was a mixed bag for both the men's and women's teams today. There were some impressive individual results on both sides, though in terms of overall team finish both sides were left wanting much more. Adriana Hooks led the women's charge with a superb race that had her challenging for the individual title and eventually finishing on the podium in third place. In second and third position were Brianna Belo and Arianna Lopez who continued to show this year's improvement on the cross country course. Arianna improved over 40 places from last year's championship meet, despite even falling today.
"On the men's side, Matthew Rainey completed a very gutsy race, matching moves with the class of the conference and finishing ninth overall. Ben Doiron responded well to adverse conditions, falling three separate times but still battling to a 29th-place finish. Gerard D'Ambrosio III had a breakthrough performance, putting together a complete race and coming in 37th-place as the team's third finisher. Similar to Lopez, D'Ambrosio has demonstrated continued development with a 29-place improvement from last year.
"Despite those solid individual performances, our packs did not come through where they needed to today. But packs win championships, so that is something we have to improve on down the road. Both squads will look to rebound in two weeks at the NCAA regional championships at Penn State."
The Eagles will return to the course one final time for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, hosted by Penn State on Friday, No. 9.
For the latest on American University Cross Country, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.