BLACKSBURG, Va. - Brandon White was VMI's top finishing runner for the first time in his four-year career, headlining the VMI cross country team's efforts at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invite, contested Friday in Blacksburg, Va.
White led the way for the Keydets with a 27th-place finish on the 8K course, as he crossed the line in 25:49.80. That was one spot, and one-tenth of a second, ahead of teammate Jay Broom, the current SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week. The rest of VMI's top five was Ryan Drew (45th/26:16.30), Avery Martin (55th/26:32.40) and Kyle Sabourin (64th/26:44.40), who made his first appearance of the year in VMI's top five.
As a team, the Keydets finished sixth in the nine-squad field (149 pts), two points behind fifth-place Akron. Virginia Tech won the meet with 21 markers, while Liberty was second (49), Ohio finished third (63) and ETSU (115) was fourth.
"On the men's side today, we had strong performances once again from Brandon White and Jay Broom," said VMI head coach Dr. Drew Ludtke. "We are working hard to lessen the gap from our first to fifth-place runners, and that went very well tonight, with it shrinking to 55 seconds. I am still hoping to both make that gap less and have our top athletes move up in the large fields."
The rest of VMI's finishers Friday were Tripp Fitch (72nd/27:01.80), Micah Ellington (74th/27:03.70), Luke Phillips (75th/27:04.10), Justin Adams (79th/27:13.70), Jahanzib Shahbaz (84th/27:38.30), Luke Lysher (101st/29:13.10) and Josh Willard (104th/29:33.50).
"Overall, this is an incredibly motivated and fun team to coach," offered Coach Ludtke. "The entire team gives 100% effort, sacrifices extra miles and time to make themselves and the team better. It's a great day to be a Keydet!"
VMI cross country will return to action Oct. 1, when the Keydets take part in the Paul Short Run in Lehigh, Pa.