Here's my latest article for the Collegiate Times. The website is www.collegiatetimes.com
The Virginia Tech men’s and women’s cross country teams finished eighth and 15th, respectively, in their final competition on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the NCAA Southeast Regional Invitational in Louisville, Ky.
Prior to their fall season finale, both teams were recently hit hard when many of their runners came down with illnesses.
“We had some great individual efforts, but we never quite got it together as a team,” head coach Ben Thomas said. “It mainly came down to things like illness.
“We had guys getting the flu at the wrong time, on the day of the race,” he said. “Our top five didn’t actually get to race together in the past two important meets, which were the championship meets.”
“I think we have a really good team,” said junior Matt Kroetch. “We’ve had a rough streak at regionals every year. Our team seems to get hit especially hard with illnesses. I don’t know if it’s for any particular reason or if it was just a bunch of bad luck.”
One of the few bright spots for the team was senior Devin Cornwall, who finished 18th and earned all-region honors in the 10,000-meter race. This was the first all-region title for Cornwall after he fell short in each of the last two years.
“I wanted to place high enough to help the team to move on to nationals,” Cornwall said. “About halfway through the race, I realized that this was the last time I had a chance to make all-region.”
Even though Cornwall finished the highest he ever has, it was a bittersweet moment for him as his cross country career is over because the team did not advance to nationals.
“On paper leading into the year, we were a very good team, but I guess it just didn’t work out,” Cornwall said.
Kroetch placed 30th and had a personal best time at the course in Louisville of 31:41. He also saw his cross country season career come to an end.
“I tried to enjoy the meet when I went there,” Kroetch said. “Knowing this was going to be my last meet. I’ve been improving over the last few years, and I’m really glad with the way things turned out.”
For now, the runners will look forward to the start of the indoor track season.
“We have a good young group of guys coming back,” Thomas said. “And our recruiting is going well. We’re looking to get more cross country runners for our women’s side.”
“We have a really great group of individuals, and I think next year they should come back and put together something special,” he said.