Following last week’s Wolfpack Invite, the Virginia men’s and women’s cross country teams returned to Panorama Farms to compete at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational in their third meet of the season. The Cavaliers faced off against Duke and Virginia Tech, with the men’s team placing first once again — its third first-place win of the season — and the women’s team securing second place.
“Coming back to Panorama is always special,” junior Hannah Moran said. “Being here and being home, there’s a sense of pride in that.”
In the men’s 8K race, the Cavaliers paced the competition, scoring 26 points. The Blue Devils placed second with 33 points, and the Hokies recorded 72 points, finishing in third. On the women’s side, Duke won with 23 points, while Virginia secured second after earning 47 points and Virginia Tech placed third with 58 points.
Senior Rohann Asfaw finished first in the men’s competition with a time of 23:52.5, pulling away from Duke senior CJ Ambrosio and winning the race by four seconds. Asfaw, who has been named USTFCCCA Collegiate National Athlete of the week for two consecutive weeks, won his third race of the season Friday.
Freshman Wes Porter, the next Cavalier to finish, placed third overall in the meet with a time of 24:10.2. He was followed by graduate student Randy Neish, who crossed the finish line just a second later with a time of 24:11.6. Rounding out Virginia’s top male five runners, sophomore Bryson Crites and Kellen Hasle placed eighth and tenth, respectively.
“The race was a little closer than we would have liked it to have been,” Asfaw said. “Overall, we still came away with the win and I’m proud of [the team] for that.”
In the women’s 5K race, Moran was the first Virginia runner to finish. She placed fourth overall with a career-best time of 17:07.1. Five seconds later, senior Gabriella Karas crossed the finish line, earning sixth place. Kiera Bothwell, who also ran a personal-best time, finished in ninth place with a time of 17:26.4. Graduate student Michaela Meyer finished 12th and senior Olivia Sargent completed the race four places later. Virginia’s top five female runners all placed in the top 16.
“I feel solid about [my performance],” Moran said. “I think it was like 10 [or] 15 seconds faster than the first race here, but [there are] still a lot of things to improve on.”
In other news this week, Virginia was selected to host the 2023 NCAA Cross Country Championships at Panorama Farms, the NCAA announced Wednesday. Virginia last hosted the Cross Country Championships in 1987 at the Foxfield Course in Charlottesville.
At the NCAA Cross Country Championships, the Cavaliers will host 31 teams in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Additionally, 38 individual men and women will be selected to race.
“This is, maybe, one of the greatest running communities in the country,” said Vin Lannana, director of track and field and cross-country. “I think this gives us an opportunity to galvanize that effort and to get all those people who are out there running to really experience what Panorama Farms looks like, and I believe that the University of Virginia is well positioned to do a great job in 2023.”
The Cavaliers will be back in action Oct. 30 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. to compete in the ACC Championships.