The Cairn men’s cross country team claimed their third straight CSAC Championships with a dominating performance at ChesLen Preserve on Saturday morning. The Highlanders claimed six All-CSAC honors and seven of the top-15 spots. Cairn shattered a team record with four runners named First Team All-CSAC.
It was a healthy dose of experience and youth leading the pack for the Highlanders. Veterans Matthew Benedict (4th – 28:44.0) and Caleb Basile (6th – 29:06.8) followed up All-Conference honors in each of the past two years with First Team honors in 2016. Joining the party on the First Team were a pair of freshman, Joel Varughese (5th – 28:45.6) and Dylan Rowles (7th – 29:13.4), who capped off stellar rookie seasons with top-seven finishes on Saturday.
Earning four First Team honors wasn’t enough for the Highlanders. Cairn picked up a pair of Second Team honors as well, with Stephen Basile crossing the line in 31:04.7, followed closely by teammate Jonathan Snider (31:10.7). Basile and Snider finished in 13th and 14th to earn Second Team honors.
Just seconds outside of All-Conference honors was senior Matthew DeFlavis, who turned in one of his best races of the season finishing the 8K course on Saturday in 31:17.0.
Evan Carey (32:02.1) cracked the Top 20 in a race for just the second time this season with a 19th-place finish. Carey’s other top-20 finish came on the very same course on September 3 in the CSAC Preview. He improved his time by 2:10.1 from the beginning of the season.
Outside of the Top 20, the Highlanders had a number of strong personal performances. A number of Highlanders earned personal records, including Cullen Henry (33:44.9), Ross Cochran (35:04.7), and James Snider (44:28.9).
The Highlanders finished with 35 team points, ahead of second-place Marywood (55 team points) by 20 points. The Highlanders dropped their team score by nine points from last season.
With their third-straight title, the Highlanders become the fifth team in conference history to claim at least three-straight titles. Cairn’s first title in 2014 ended a stretch of six-straight titles for Gwynedd Mercy.
Keystone’s Marcus Ward took the individual title with a time of 28:05.5, over 11 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
The Highlanders will next take the course in two weeks when they travel to DeSales for the NCAA Mideast Regionals on November 12.
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