CONCORD, N.C. - With help from an outstanding performance by senior Amanda Goetschius, the Charlotte 49ers cross country team finished third in the 2011 Atlantic 10 Championship on Saturday at Frank Liske Park. The Niners, who tallied 92 points, finished just eight points shy of runner-up Dayton and 23 points from this year's women's team champion, La Salle. The Charlotte men, led by junior Daweet Dagnachew, turned in a ninth place finish with 240 points. La Salle capture the 2011 title on the men's side, tallying just 39 points.
Goetschius, competing in her last A10 Championship in cross country, finished in 17:29.4 in the women's 5K event, just behind champion Jill Prentice of Richmond (17:13.7) and runner-up Hilary Orf of Saint Louis (17:21.6). Her performance earned her a spot on the All-Conference Team, the fourth such honor of her career as a 49er. The Franklinville, NJ native was the 2008 A-10 Cross Country Champion and 2009 Runner-up before redshirting in 2010.
"It was a good race by the women, but we just came up a little bit too short," Charlotte head coach Ed Schlichter said following the meet. "They competed well, moved up, but at the end of the day, we were just a little bit short of grabbing that title. It's something we're going to continue to strive for. We're going to make it a goal to come back next year and really get after it again. We're not going stop chasing our dream."
Junior Hana Sutchar also earned a spot on the All-Conference team, finishing 14th overall in a time of 17.55.5. Junior transfer Maraya Slatter placed 22nd, crossing the line in 18:14.7 as Charlotte's third point-scorer. Senior Aurora Trujillo and rookie Kristen Stout hung together to round out the top five, finishing 26th and 27th, respectively, in times of 18:22.3 and 18:23.3.
Senior Kristin Mitchell (18:40.3) and freshman Jenna Christensen (18:42.8) also ran together, finishing 40th and 41st, respectively, as Charlotte's final point-scorers. Junior Maria Ruiz was just behind them, coming in 42nd (18:42.8).
On the men's side, Dagnachew was the top Charlotte finisher in the 8K race, coming in 33rd overall in a time of 25:32.1. Junior Alfredo Santana of La Salle was the men's champion, finishing in 24:18.0.
"I think we got out a little too far behind," Schlichter said about his men's squad. "It would have benefitted us to be a little bit better on the front end. The guys did a good job competing in the race, but they were just too far back. We've got one more shot at Regionals to try to be a little big more aggressive and confident."
Senior Dakota Lowery was the 49ers' #2 runner, finishing 46th in 25.51.2. Junior Ross Roberson (58th in 26:09.7), sophomore Eleazar Garcia (60th in 26:10.7) and freshman Zach Greth (61st in 26:13.5) paced each other to complete the top five for Charlotte.
The 49ers are off until Saturday, Nov. 12th when they compete at the NCAA East Regional meet in Louisville, KY.