BOONE, N.C. - In the team's final tune-up for the Big South Championships, VMI men's cross country finished fifth at the Blue Ridge Open, hosted Friday by Appalachian State in Boone, N.C.
The Keydets finished fifth overall, logging 121 points and finishing in front of several teams, including N.C. State's B squad (6th/145 points), Belmont (7th/191), High Point (8th/244), UNC Wilmington (9th/244) and Coastal Carolina (10th/304). Wake Forest won the team title, while VMI defeated other Big South schools in Longwood, Radford and Gardner-Webb.
"Our team average of 25:24 today was 35 seconds faster than our last event, the Paul Short Run," said VMI assistant track and field/cross country coach Jen Fazioli. "Despite the differences in course, that is a substantial improvement and a great sign for our squad trending upward going into conference. Today, Andrey Dmitriev was our #1, as he decided to go out quicker and executed that to perfection. With a better base, he believes he will have more in the tank. This was Will Thompson's best race of the season, as he went out a bit quicker as well, while Hartnel Paultre was conservative in his approach coming back from a sprained ankle. He ran well, however, and moved up throughout the race. Also, our #6 runner, Booth Hornsby, looked very strong and finished the race very well. I believe, much like on the women's side, this performance puts us in top shape for our next meet, the conference championship."
Andrey Dmitriev led the way for the Keydets on Friday, finishing ninth in 24:58, while Cabell Willis placed 16th in 25:05. Will Thompson recorded a 19th-place result, clocking in at 25:08, while Hartnel Paultre was 55th in 25:50. Freshman Sean Helmke, who came home in 25:59, recorded a 63rd-place finish. Booth Hornsby was 66th in 26:01, while Jason Thorpe was 77th in 26:18. Patrick Spahn (80th/26:21), Steven Trayer (90th/26:39) and Guy Shelby (100th/27:06) rounded out the VMI competitors.
VMI cross country returns to action Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Big South Championships in Rock Hill, S.C. Action gets underway with the women's race at 10:30 a.m., while the men's race is scheduled to start one hour later.