Women’s Cross Country defeats Navy, earns ‘Star’

By Nick Lovera Army Athletic Communications

October 24th, 2019 | Army and Community Sports, Sports
 The Army West Point Women’s Cross Country team celebrates after it rallied to defeat service academy rival Navy, 27-28, to claim the women’s cross country “Star” in the 2019-20 Star Series presented by USAA on Friday in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.  Photo by Army Athletic Communications

It came down to a single point, but the Army West Point Women’s Cross Country team was able to rally to defeat service academy rival Navy, 27-28, to claim the women’s cross country “Star” in the 2019-20 Star Series presented by USAA on Friday in Wappingers Falls, New York.
The depth of the Black Knights was key in this one, as Navy took the top two spots in the race. Junior Mika Andrews led the Black Knights in third (19:53.2) and was followed by teammates senior Sam Coletti, senior Ramsey Wagner and freshman Alexandra Gibbs, giving the Cadets four of the top six positions in the race.
Also scoring for Army were sophomore Jordan Jones in ninth and sophomore Dominique Shultz and freshman Lily Nunnery in 11th and 12th.
The victory is the team’s second Star Meet win in the past three seasons after failing to secure the “Star” from 2011-2016. Combined with Navy’s Men’s victory, the 2019-20 Star Series is now tied at 3-3.

Coach’s Corner: Head Coach Mike Smith
“It was an extraordinary win for our women today. We have had to overcome the normal challenges that come with academy life, but we have also had to overcome the unexpected challenges of injury and illness.
“Those things can really destroy a team, but not this team. It is almost as if the adversity that has beset us, strengthened the resolve of this group of women. It has been remarkable to watch.
“This rivalry is intense and the performance level of both teams rises way above any other competition that we have. Our women have trained very well this year and that showed in today’s race. I expected Samantha to be one of our leaders and she did a great job up front. She is the glue that has kept this team focused and committed. Her leadership has been exceptional.
“I knew Allie Gibbs would put herself in the fight and she did that and hung in there when it got rough. She has proven to be quite dependable and is a great competitor. She comes from such a small high school environment that there is always a risk that maybe a Star Meet moment could be too big for her, but she obviously handled everything quite well.
“Ramsey Wagner was hard charging the entire race. It was probably the best race of her life and that isn’t something that just happened by chance. She decided a long time ago that she was committed to getting the most out of her ability and we saw that today. That is the best Army-Navy finish she has ever had.
“Jordan Jones was pretty special today as well. This is a kid that struggled to make our roster last year. She decided last summer to commit herself to reaching her potential and came back in great shape and today all that hard work paid off. I really appreciate those kids that are self driven.
“The kid that I need to say the most about is Mika Andrews. In 2017 as a plebe she out-kicked a Navy runner in the last 10m of the race to flip the score for us to win it. Today, she ran as our number one and put significant pressure on the top Navy women. She has always been consistent for us as a runner in our top 5, but never really challenged at the front of a race until today. It was a huge breakthrough. She knew she was our leader and didn’t shy away from that. She kept charging. It was a great performance.
“I don’t know that we have had a better team race since I have been here. We don’t have the front runners that we have had in the past, but we have the best depth that we have ever had and that depth and the commitment of these women to just doing their best won the meet for us. I am proud of them.”

Top finishers:
3. Mika Andrews—19:53.2
4. Sam Coletti—20:03.4
5. Ramsey Wagner—20:03.7
6. Alexandra Gibbs—20:05.0

Full results: https://results.leonetiming.com/XC.html?mid=1827

Up next: Army will compete at the Patriot League Championships Nov. 2 in Hamilton, New York.