The University of Richmond cross country teams open the 2021 fall season on the same course that saw the spring season come to a successful close just a few months ago. The Spiders will race in the Spider Alumni Open at Pole Green Park on Saturday morning, with the first race beginning at 9:15 a.m. Richmond will host Christopher-Newport, George Mason, James Madison, Longwood, Mary Washington, VCU and Virginia in a men’s 5k race, and a women’s two-mile race.
The men’s team returns all four of its All-Conference selections from last spring’s championship effort. Stuart Terrill (Crozet, Va.) finished second in the conference meet last season, earning the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie Performer for his efforts. Senior Peter Borger (Malvern, Pa.) took third at the Atlantic 10 meet last year, and Noah Yuro (Howell, N.J.) returns as a graduate student after finishing sixth. Noah Campbell (Montpelier, Va.) is another returner that picked up All-Conference honors, rounding out the top 10 at the championship meet in March.
“We want to be the best cross country-only program in the nation, and I think we’re approaching that.” Head coach Steve Taylor said, “The steps that were taken last year, really helped drive that. These guys really are pushing to be the best they can be. One of the things we pride ourselves on, is taking athletes, developing them, and getting the best out of them.”
Riley Fletcher (East Northport, Va.) ran in just two of the three races last spring, but made the most of his time on the course, finishing 24th and the Spiders final qualified finisher to help the team earn the Atlantic 10 Championship. Along with nine other returners, the Spiders have the addition of three freshmen on the roster this season.
Tanner Crochet (Monmouth, N.J.), Sean Doolan (Loudonville, Ky.), Robert Gunia (Fredericksburg, Va.), James Quinn (Nutley, N.J.) and Patrick Sutphin (Mechanicsville, Va.) all competed at the Atlantic 10 Championship a season ago, and will look to help the men’s team continue on their path to another successful season.
The women are led by the 2021 spring season’s Most Outstanding Rookie Performer Elizabeth Stockman (Rocky Hill, Conn.). Stockman was the Spiders’ highest finisher at the Atlantic 10 Championship meet in the spring, and was routinely among the top finishers in the three spring races. Twice Stockman won Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week for her efforts on the course.
“I think our women have come back with a renewed sense of what it takes and where we need to be to get ourselves back on top and be the team that is looking at winning a conference championship in cross country every season.” Head coach Lori Taylor said, “That’s been our tradition. We have three that were on the cross country All-Rookie team in Manon Stephen, Madison Trippett and Elizabeth Stockman who was the rookie of the year. We have six freshmen who have joined us, so half of our team is still really young and we’re very excited about how they’ve looked.”
Manon Stephen (Basking Ridge, Conn.) was an All-Rookie performer after her 31st-place finish at the Atlantic 10 Championship this spring. She competed in all three races during the condensed season, and saw a significant uptick in time in the final meet. Madison Trippett (Parkersburg, W.Va.) added a 36th-place finish for her efforts at the Atlantic 10 Championship and was another that saw great improvement throughout the season.
The Spiders were picked to finish sixth in the league’s preseason poll and look to get back into form that saw the women’s cross country team bring home the championship in 2018. Returners Lily Snow (Richmond, Va.) and Kendra Smither (Richmond, Va.) both competed in all three races in the spring. Snow began the spring strong and will look to continue that performance Saturday.