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UMBC Seniors lead the way for Cross Country at Navy Invitational

Senior-distance runners Nathan Nadal and Kelsey Ponton helped the Retrievers beat out Loyola and Bowie State for fourth place in the 2018 installment of the Salty Dog Invitational at the United States Naval Academy. At last year’s Navy Invitational, junior-runner Briana Roberts led the way for UMBC with a time of 24:14.78, and this year her teammate Ponton improved on that time, finishing with 23:53.87. Ponton placed twelfth in the women’s 6k run while Nadal posted fourth in the men’s 8k run with a time of 25:58.73.

Navy’s Midshipmen won the invitational on their home course and dominated the individual honors. They excelled in the men’s race, fielding five runners in the top seven, and beating UMBC by just 25 points. Their top athlete, Jake Brophy finished with a time of 25:33.13. In the women’s contest, they had six runners in the top seven and had a 55-point gap to the second position. Top racer, Claire Ostrowski, clocked in at 22:17.10.

This year’s competition was well contested. There were only 11 seconds between the top six runners in the men’s race and 12 seconds in the women’s contest. The Retrievers performed admirably, improving on last year’s showing and continuing their good form from the season debut at Mount St. Mary’s. They had three male athletes in the top eight, and eight in the top 16. Junior-distance runner Brian Cave, who led UMBC to sixth at Mount St. Mary’s, was the third Retriever to cross the tape and finished eighth overall with a time of 26:49.13.

UMBC averaged a time of 25:54.47 in the 36-man 8k race, five seconds down on last year’s average, and 24:31.23 in the 77-man 6k run, compared to last year’s average of 24:59.04. The Retrievers would be looking to compete even harder as they attempt to win Lehigh University’s large-scale Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, Sept. 29.