Navy Men's Cross Country Edged in Star Meet by Army, 27-29
WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. – The 2017 Men’s Cross Country Star Meet was an 8K battle throughout that entirety of the competition on Saturday. Racing at the cross country course at Bowdoin Park, Army defeated Navy by two points, 27-29. The two-point margin of victory was the slimmest in a men’s Star Meet since 2008 when the Black Knights edged the Mids, 27-28.
In a tight race, that saw the lead pack of ten runners evenly split with five Navy and five Army runners around nearly every corner and up every hill, a final push down the stretch earned the host Black Knights the victory. Army’s John Valeri won the individual title at 23:11.30, just 0.80 seconds ahead of Kevin Murray (So., Wilmington, Del.), who clocked in at 23:12.10. Jake Brophy (So., New Hope, Pa.) followed up his Midshipmen teammate in third place with a time of 23:13.30.
The deciding factor for Army came over the next 23 seconds as three Black Knights finished in fourth, fifth and sixth place. Cory Donley (Sr., Salina, Kan.) earned a seventh-place result for the Mids at 23:46,70. Gabriel Collison (Sr., La Crescenta, Calif.) and Michael Karls (Jr., Festus, Mo.) rounded out Navy’s top-five counters in eighth and ninth place respectively at 23:54.00 and 24:13.00.
Jake Shewbert (So., Flowery Branch, Ga.) displaced one Army runner with the meet’s 10th-best time of 24:15.60.
A sign of the competitiveness and tight racing, the average time for Army’s top-five runners was 23:33.28, while Navy’s top-five average was 23:39.82. The top-six overall runners all turned in sub-5:00 average miles.
“This was a tough one,” remarked head coach Al Cantello after the meet. “The guys will figure this out. This is not the time to wallow in this outcome.”
All-time in the men’s cross country Army-Navy Star series, Navy holds a 49-30-1 advantage. Navy came into Saturday as victors in each of the last three meets.
Navy will step aside from competition for a week as the team will prepare to defend its title at the Patriot League Championship on Saturday, Oct. 28.