Charlotte cross country dominated the Conference USA (C-USA) Championships in Denton, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 29. Placing first in both men's and women's races, on top of other awards, nobody looked to challenge the 49ers.
Three years have passed since the men's team last won the championship and five years for the women's team. Now, Charlotte has them both again.
The women's team ended up with a victory and a win for the history books.
Head Coach Joseph Lynn said the team had a solid performance.
"Our women really battled, and we talked about controlling the race from the beginning," said Lynn. "Not everyone had their greatest day, but we had a total team effort that led us on the day."
Throughout the event, Charlotte set the standard. While the 49ers did not get first in individual results, the University's best riddled the top 25 finishers. In fact, every one of the ten on the team reached the mark, and half of them were in the top ten.
Sophomores Sophia Ritter and Lauren Johnston were the vanguards of the green and white's efforts, earning second and third place in the individual championship.
As for the rest, Alina Rovnak finished at No. 6, Jenna Newman at No. 7, Chandler Horton at No. 8, Jessie Connick at No. 16, Louise Lounes at No. 18, Jade Martin at No. 19 and Emma Fredericks at No. 23 rounded out the 49er lineup.
Charlotte earned 26 points in the 6K race, putting them ahead of Middle Tennessee, who doubled the points at 52, and Rice at 79. The team's results were good enough to earn eight positions on the first, second and third Women's All-Conference teams, with four runners on the first.
The high-level results got Lynn Women's Coach of the Year, the second in his career.
The laurels of victory returned to Charlotte a third time for men's cross country after a commanding performance over conference rivals in the 8K race scheduled.
"It was great to have someone like Nick be that dependable runner that you can always count on," said Lynn. "The team effort was really strong."
Even more potent than the women's team, every athlete on the men's team finished in the top 20 – and junior Nick Scudder was the best of them all as individual champion, finishing 16.9 seconds ahead of second place. In addition, redshirt senior Gavin Prior obtained the title of Most Outstanding Senior.
Hunter White finished fourth ahead of Prior at No. 7, Keaton Anderson at No. 9 and Aaron Rovnak came home at No. 10. Maddon Muhammad finished at No. 12, Brian Picone at No. 13, Alec Esposito at No. 14 and Braden Lange at No. 17, completing the team.
Such results were good enough for 31 points overall, half that of second-place UTEP. Additionally, nine of the 49ers received positions on the Men's All-Conference teams, with three on the first, five on the second and one on the third.
As with the women's team, the title of Men's Coach of the Year found its way to Lynn for the second time in his career.
The season as a whole
Though more extraordinary than usual, the results in the conference championship are a hallmark of the capable and successful season Charlotte cross-country has run. The men's team also received their highest national ranking peaking at No. 27.
Both teams have laid claim to C-USA athlete of the week this season. Scudder alone earned that honor three times, six in his career, with redshirt junior Finnegan McBride recording one. For the women's team, freshman Austin Heft can reflect on her rookie season with an athlete of the week award to her name.
In terms of success, the men's team has never been in the bottom half of results. In any event, their highest finish was second this season and before the championship. However, the women's team did better, getting a first-place finish; their lowest finish was No. 15 out of 20 in one event.
Such a team is made better by a history-making coach. Lynn can now boast of being the only in Charlotte program history to be bestowed Men's Manager of the Year more than once. Lynn's men's team made more history on Oct. 18, ranked No. 27 in the nation and higher than any Charlotte team.
Charlotte competes in the NCAA Southeast Regional on Friday, Nov. 11, in Louisville, Ky.