LEESBURG, Va. - Jahanzib Shahbaz finished 18th overall, helping the VMI men's cross country team finish sixth at the Mason Invitational, contested Saturday morning in Leesburg, Va.
For the third straight race, Shahbaz led the Keydets, this time with a 26:25 time over the course that measured just under 8K. Shahbaz became only the second Keydet since 2011 to lead the men's team in three straight races, joining Jay Broom, who led the team in four straight events at the conclusion of last season.
Justin Adams served as VMI's #2 runner, finishing 34th in 26:59, while Broom was 44th (27:17) and Kyle Sabourin crossed the line 45th (27:17). Micah Ellington rounded out VMI's top five finishers, when he placed 46th in 27:21.
"The overall depth of our men's team is still one of its strengths," said VMI head coach Dr. Drew Ludtke. "Jahanzib Shahbaz and Justin Adams are a solid 1-2 for us, and a pair of true freshman were in our top seven today. We still need to keep working on moving our entire team up in the packs, but today was a great step forward in the right direction. We are looking forward to our remaining schedule over the next few weeks, as our team environment remains strong and our runners push each other to be their best."
As a team, the Keydets finished in sixth place with 160 points, well ahead of George Washington (201), Youngstown State (237), American (240) and Hampton (293). VMI finished 15 points behind Davidson in a race won easily by Saint Joseph's (Pa.).
Other Keydet competitors included Jackson Betts, who was VMI's top finishing true freshman. Betts was 55th in 27:55, while classmate Jake Mazziotta was 64th in 28:21. Carlos Fernandes came across the line in 68th (28:41) and Adam Roberto was 72nd in 28:53. Daniel Brewster rounded out the VMI runners with an 83rd-place result (30:10).
VMI cross country will return to action October 13, when the Keydets take part in the VertCross Invite in Kernersville, N.C.