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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Cross country competes at A-10 championships

The University of Richmond men's and women's cross country teams finished eighth and second, respectively, in the Atlantic 10 conference championship meet at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Va., Saturday.

Senior Jill Prentice led the women's team, coming in second place with a time of 17:02.7 over the 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race. Sophomore Tara Hanley placed fifth with a time of 17:15.0, and freshman Marisa Ruskan came in eighth with a time of 17:24.2, earning the A-10 rookie of the year award in the process. Before the race, Prentice said: "Winning conferences would be icing on the cake for me at this point, for my senior year. There's just more pressure there, because you want to give it all you got."

Although the team fell short of first, Prentice said the team had accomplished two of its goals: racing more as a team and closing the gap in time between the top runners.

Women's coach Lori Taylor said the season leading up to conferences had been challenging and that the team had faced injury problems coming in from the summer.

Entering the event, Taylor knew it would come down to Duquesne University or her own team, she said.

"Duquesne has a solid team," she said. "They've been running, one to five, as a unit. For our girls, it's going to be how badly we want it."

Taylor said after the race that she was proud of the Richmond team, and that they had come in second "to a really great Duquesne team."

Duquesne won the conference with all of its top seven runners in the top 25 of the event.

Senior Amber Valimont led the team at 17:11.1, coming in at fourth overall.

In the men's 8-kilometer (about 5 miles) race, redshirt-senior Jason Skipper finished 21st with a time of 24:41.4 in his last conference race for Richmond. Skipper didn't predict a place for the team, but said he wouldn't have been happy with anything outside of a top 10 finish.

"This is it for me, as far as conference championships are concerned," Skipper said. "It's definitely sad. You really reflect on your time here and all the people that have come through the program that have influenced who I am today."

Senior Ryan Lee came in 31st with a time of 24.50.0, and Jordan Chavez finished one place behind him at 32nd.

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Sophomore Matthew McKenna raced with a nagging Achilles injury, finishing 52nd with a 25.21.2 time. McKenna said he had known before the race that the injury would be a problem, but that he would race with a "no-fear" mentality and deal with the consequences later.

Men's coach Steve Taylor said his boys gave their best and that the team would "rise another day." He said before the race that after LaSalle University, which won its second conference title in three years, the teams were interchangeable for the remaining spots.

Contact reporter Jeremy Day at jeremy.day@richmond.edu

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