Recounting Men’s Cross Country

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By: Brian Laubscher

So today we move on to the top men’s cross country moments from the last 11 years. This is a tough sport for me to write about the top moments.  Certainly there have been some unbelievable individual and team performances over the years. However, this is a sport where winning doesn’t always make for the most memorable moments.

Seeing someone chop seconds and even minutes off their best time or give what they didn’t think they could give to improve their own standing and improve the team point total in order to give the team a better chance of winning – those performances are so hard to identify without being there and knowing the sacrifices that have been made.

The nature of the sport is that there are very few home meets, usually only one or two if we are hosting the conference championship.  All that being said, below are some of my favorite moments:

Andy Schorr

Andy Schorr

On November 1, 2003 Andy Schorr became W&L’s first ODAC Champion since the 1995 season when Jason Callen claimed the title.  Schorr had been a solid competitor throughout his career, finishing seventh in the conference championship as a first-year and third as a junior.  However, when he crossed the finish line first in the 2003 ODAC Championship, Schorr sort of opened the door for several years of success within the conference and region.

On the strength of Schorr’s performance the season before, the Generals went on to claim their first ODAC Championship since 1997 by winning the title on October 30, 2004.  Schorr may have graduated but junior transfer student Nathan Johnson and first-year Alex Mahoney helped propel W&L to the title by finishing first and second, respectively, at the conference championship meet.  Johnson, who had originally attended William & Mary, went on to win the regional title en route to placing 83rd overall at the NCAA Division III Championships.

Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson

On October 29, 2005, the Generals claimed their second-straight ODAC crown with Johnson and Mahoney again placing 1-2 at the championship meet.  Johnson placed third at regionals and then finished 62nd overall at the NCAA Division III Championships.  Mahoney ended up transferring to Rhodes College, where he won the 2006 NCAA South/Southeast Region Championship and was a two-time NCAA Championship participant.

The 2006 team’s performance at the ODAC Championships was probably the most inspiring.  The Generals were the two-time defending conference champions, but they appeared vulnerable after Johnson exhausted his eligibility and Mahoney transferred.  Despite having a young squad and long odds, the Generals claimed their third-straight conference title.  Sophomore Michael Welsh led the way with a third-place finish at the conference championship, while sophomore Vance Berry placed fifth overall.  W&L went on to finish a solid seventh out of 21 teams at regionals, with Berry leading the way with an 18th-place finish.

The fourth-straight run at an ODAC title in 2007 was also special.  Welsh finished as the conference runner-up and senior Tom Brower placed third overall.  Welsh went on to place fifth at regionals in helping the Generals to a fourth-place finish.  He then placed 164th at the NCAA Division III Championships.

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