LEESBURG, Va. - Graduate student Elaine Estes placed second in a field of 73 racers to lead the Saint Joseph's women's cross country squad to a fifth-place team finish in a field of seven at the 2019 George Mason Invitational on Friday evening. The Hawks averaged 19:16 over 5k en route to a 96-point performance.
The meet was held at the Oatlands Plantation and was a trial run for the 2019 Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championship (Nov. 2) and Saint Joseph's, predicted to finish 10th at November's league meet, finished within four points of George Mason, predicted to finish fourth.
Paced by a 5:45.5 mile average, Estes cruised to a blistering overall time of 18:21.6 to take the second spot, just 3.6 seconds behind George Washington's Suzanne Dannheim.
"Elaine raced a strategically-perfect race," said head coach Melody O'Reilly following the meet. "She looked strong and confident from the gun. She knows now that she can run with some of the best in the conference."
In her first collegiate 5k, senior Morgan Camerlo followed Estes with an 11th-place finish (18:57.4 PR) while junior Abigail Silva (19:21.1) and senior captain Meridith Twomey (19:43.8) finish 20th and 26th, respectively.
Senior captain Emily Bracken rounded out the scoring in 39th (19:59.2) while senior Samantha Mayers (42nd, 20:06.2 PR) and senior Emily Schaeffer (49th, 20:14.4) finished as SJU's #6 and #7 runners. Of note, Mayers improved upon her previous 5k PR by over 37 seconds.
"Overall, I'm happy with the team performance," closed O'Reilly. "We know now what we need to do at the conference meet to be successful. It's still very early in the season and we looked very strong, but we need to pack together going forward."
The Hawks are off from competition next weekend, but select Hawks will race the Delaware Invitational at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, Del. on Saturday, September 28. Start time is set for 10:00 a.m.