Cross country teams dominate in ODACs

For the first time in a decade, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are repeat ODAC champs

Kathyrn Young

Oct. 29 was a big day for the Washington and Lee cross country program. Both the men’s and women’s teams claimed their second consecutive ODAC championship at the Buena Vista Golf Course.

The men’s side was led by Mac Strehler, ’17, who placed first out of 105 runners at the meet and was named ODAC Runner of the Year. Strehler won the ODAC race by over 18 seconds.

Strehler has been named to the First Team All-ODAC in all four of his years as a General, and was also named the ODAC Bureau Scholar-Athlete for the second consecutive year. Although Strehler may have taken first place at the ODAC Championship race, he is confident and motivated by the other strong runners on the team.

“I feel lucky to belong to a team that’s already full of leaders,” Strehler said. “So I think that my leadership as captain isn’t so important compared with the infectious positive attitudes coming from everyone else. If anything, being captain is a reminder that I owe the team my best effort in every race.”

The men placed four additional runners in the top 15, including MacKenzye Leroy, ’18, in second, Ian McDonald, ’17, in sixth, Cooper Baird, ’19, in eighth, and Phillip Harmon, ’17, in fifteenth.

Likewise, the women’s team placed five runners in the top 14 at the meet. Samantha Yates ‘19, and Maggie Seybold, ‘19, took second and third, respectively. Both runners earned First Team All-ODAC honors. Kirsten McMichael, ’19, wasn’t far behind, finishing eighth in the race and Second Team All-ODAC honors. Julia Moody, ‘20, and Katie Bearup, ‘20, both received Second Team All-ODAC honors as well. With her eleventh place finish, Moody became also took home ODAC Rookie of the Year honors, marking the second straight year a General has won the award.

The men’s cross country team attributes both careful planning and excellent leadership to this year’s successes.

“This season we reason just focused on the process and being patient during the first half of the season,” Austin Kinne, ’20, said. “We didn’t worry too much about any of our small meets in the beginning of the year. As a result, the team ran lights out at ODAC’s and our other big meets.”

The girls team, though, has had to overcome tremendous adversity this season to get to where they are now. Much of the team has been injured for a great portion of the season, making their first place finish even more remarkable.

“Being back to back champs meant the world to us, especially with so much of the team battling injuries for most of the season,” Kristi Miluski, ’19, said.

The team added many strong first-years to the roster this year, and the team chemistry was an important aspect that propelled the team to victory.

“The team did awesome this season and everyone really clicked,” Captain Kate McCreary, ’17, said. “The freshmen fit in so well and we are such a big family.”

However, being ODAC champs is not the final goal for the either team: qualifying for nationals, and then making a statement on the national stage.

“I think we are definitely on a good track and have the ability to reach our goal, which is making it to Nationals,” Miluski added. “We are all very motivated and determined to do our best.”

Both teams will head to Rome, Ga. to race in the NCAA South/ Southeast Regional at Berry College on Nov. 19.