Many college fall sports teams have moved into the championship phase of their seasons and the Virginia cross country teams have a unique opportunity this weekend. UVA is serving as the host for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1987 on Saturday.
This will mark just the fourth NCAA Championship event hosted by Virginia.
As a result, Cavalier fans and local running fans are geared up for the big day at Panorama Farms. Excitement is so high that tickets to the event are sold out! Approximately 5,000 fans are expected to attend. The women’s 6K race is set to start at 10:20 a.m. with the men’s 10K race to follow at 11:10 a.m. The event will be carried on ESPNU with coverage beginning at 9:30 a.m.
“The course is phenomenal,” UVA coach Vin Lananna said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better prepared community than what I see here.”
Both the Virginia men’s and women’s teams qualified for the title meet as at-large selections. This is the first time since 2006 both made the final field as at-large bids simultaneously. It’s also the first time since 2014 and 2015 that both squads qualified in back-to-back seasons.
On the women’s side, Margot Appleton raced to a fifth place finish at the ACC Championships and to a third-place run at the NCAA Southeast Regional, the highest finish in that event for a Hoo since 2014. Both finishes improved from the 2022 cross country season when she placed 9th and 16th. She’s been a back-to-back All-ACC and All-South East Regional honoree.
Jenny Schilling, Caroline Timm, and Anna Workman also earned All-ACC recognition for the Hoos. Schilling ran 7th at the region meet, while Timm came home 23rd as both garnered all-region honors as well. Virginia placed 9th in last year’s NCAA Championship meet so the program is in pursuit of back-to-back top 10 finishes.
On the men’s side, Will Anthony, Gary Martin, Nate Mountain, and Yasin Sado picked up All-ACC honors. Anthony led the team at the ACC meet and at the NCAA Southeast Regionals with 7th place runs in both. Anthony landed on the all-region team in 2022 as well. Mountain and Sado joined Anthony on the all-region team with 14th and 24th place runs. Sado was all-region last fall as well.
The Hoos are excited to be running on their home course at Panorama Farms and for the large crowd expected to be in attendance.
“Last year, I remember Nationals, there were so many fans and there was so much noise,” Appleton said. “It’s just gonna be really cool that we know a majority of them are cheering for us and I think that will just give us an extra boost so I’m excited for that.”
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