CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Andrey Dmitriev finished 40th, VMI's first top-50 finish at the Southeast Regional Championships since 2008, to pace the Keydet men’s cross country team’s efforts on Friday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.
Dmitriev covered the 10K course in 31:07, and by finishing 40th, became VMI’s first runner to place in the top-50 in this event since Donnie Cowart ‘08 accomplished the feat in 2008, a year that saw Cowart finish 41st. As a team, the Keydets placed 20th overall, an improvement of four positions over the 2011 Regional meet, and finished as the #3 Big South squad, behind Liberty and High Point.
“All in all, I was pretty happy with the race on the men’s side,” said VMI assistant track and field/cross country coach Jen Fazioli. “Our goal going in was to finish in the top half of the team standings, and we just missed that, but we did have some strong races. Andrey went out really hard, just shy of the lead pack and had a 4:35 opening mile. Hartnel Paultre stepped up with a big PR, and Cabell Willis had a strong race and would have been even better if not for an early race incident with his shoe. I can’t say enough about Steven Trayer today, as he really stepped up and was our #5. All together, we raced fairly well as a team and we are improving. I thought it was a step in the right direction, and we know what we need to work on for next year.”
Cabell Willis concluded a strong season with a 91st-place finish, giving VMI two runners in the Region’s top 100 for the second time in three years. Willis’ time was 32:16. The Keydet #3 and #4 runners were Hartnel Paultre and Sean Helmke, as Paultre rebounded from an illness at the Big South meet to record a 114th-place finish (32:36) and Helmke clocked in at 32:46 to place 126th.
Steven Trayer (146th/33:17) wrapped up VMI’s scoring positions, as he finished inside the squad’s top five for the first time this season, while Booth Hornsby (165th/33:46) and Jason Thorpe (213th/35:33) rounded out the Keydet competitors. It will be the final cross country race for both Thorpe and Hornsby, who each finished in VMI’s top five at the Big South Championships.