Oct. 13, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army cross country will host Navy in the annual Star Meet Friday afternoon at the West Point Golf Course. The men’s 8K race is slated for a 4 p.m. start, with the women’s 6K set for 4:45 p.m. Course conditions are expected to be damp as rain is forecasted through Friday night.
At last season’s Star Meet in Annapolis, Md., the Army women won their second consecutive head-to-head against rival Navy, 26-29. The Black Knights took two of the top-three finishes, led by Marcie Nordt who finished the 6K in 23:25.60. Navy’s Jess Palacio won the individual title, crossing the line in 22:30.41. Both Nordt for Army and Palacio for Navy are slated to compete at Friday’s rematch.
The Midshipmen defeated the Black Knights in 2010’s men’s Star Meet, coming away with a 20-41 victory. Navy earned the two best times on the afternoon, as Andrew Hank snapped the tape at the end of the 8K course in 24:27.12. Army’s top finisher was Bryce Livingston, who finished third overall with a time of 24:53.15.
The men’s top returning finisher from a year ago is senior Barrett LeHardy who placed fifth overall with a time of 25:13.82. Navy brings back its No. 2 man from last season in Cody Rome, who finished second overall in 24:50.40.
“The weather will really be the great equalizer,” said Army head coach Troy Engle. “We’ll do our best to minimize the poor conditions while maintaining the integrity of the course.”
Overall, the Army women return six runners from a year ago, while Navy welcomes back eight. On the men’s side, seven Black Knights on the current roster competed in 2010’s Star Meet compared to nine Midshipmen.
When asked if the relative youthfulness of the Black Knights would help or hinder their performance, Engle replied “On any given day it can be good or bad, but the fact that we’re young certainly doesn’t hurt.
“Our young runners are racy savvy and competitive, and if they don’t know the full extent of what the Army-Navy meet means, they certainly will once that gun goes off.”
Navy has the edge in the all-time series for both the men and women. On the men’s side, the Midshipmen lead 44-28-1 in a series that dates back to 1937, including their current two-meet winning streak. For the women, Navy leads 15-10 dating back to 1986.
The Army men last won the Star in 2008, as the Black Knights narrowly edged out the Midshipmen in Annapolis, 27-28. The Navy women last beat Army also in 2008 at the Naval Academy, winning in convincing fashion, 15-48.
“Navy is arguably the strongest team in the conference, for both men and women, but we’ve been inching towards them throughout the season,” said Engle. “The timing of this dual is ideal as we keep getting better every week.
“We faced them two weeks ago at the Paul Short Run and how they ran was no surprise. We’ve put in a lot of work since then, including two or three benchmark workouts that went incredibly well.
“Our kids are excited for Friday, to be able to run in front of the supportive fans that come out to Army sporting events, regardless of the weather. It’s the largest spectator turnout in the country for a dual meet. No one sees crowds like this outside of large regional competitions or conference championships.”
Following the showdown with Navy, Army enters the postseason section of its schedule with the next meet being the 2011 Patriot League Championships. Lehigh will serve as host for the conference meet which is scheduled for Oct. 29 at 11 a.m.