LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Bridgewater College women's and men's cross country teams are poised for strong showings this Saturday at the ODAC Championship Meet hosted by Randolph College.
The women have put together one of the best seasons in program history, earning a regional ranking along the way.
Washington and Lee, Lynchburg and the Eagles are all ranked in the South/Southeast Region poll and the three teams should vie for the conference title this Saturday.
The Generals are ranked No. 3 in the region and appear to have a slight edge entering the conference meet. W&:'s top five runners rank in the Top 17 in the ODAC's best 6K times.
Bridgewater's top five runners rank in the Top 26 in ODAC times with Lynchburg putting its top five in the Top 28.
The Eagles may have the individual favorite as sophomore Olivia Mills boasts the best time in the conference. Mills was named ODAC runner of the week three times this season.
Sophomore Molly Smith, a second-team All-ODAC runner a year ago, ranks No. 5 in the ODAC and is the "best Number Two runner in the conference," according to BC head coach Brian Flynn.
Junior Katie Notarangelo and sophomore Samantha Hancock could also challenge for All-ODAC honors Saturday as Notarangelo ranks No.. 10 and Hancock comes in at No. 15 in the ODAC.
Freshman Stephanie Breen has emerged as Bridgewater's No. 5 runner and ranks No. 26 in the conference.
The Eagles ran on the championship meet course to start the season in the ODAC preview meet. Lynchburg placed first, followed by Roanoke and the Eagles. W&L did not run in the meet. Bridgewater ran that meet without Smith who was sidelined early in the year. Mills and Notarangelo finished 1-2 in the season-opening meet.
Lynchburg appears to be a strong favorite in the men's race with Guilford looking like a solid second. Bridgewater, W&L and Virginia Wesleyan should be in a close battle for the next spot with any of the three capable of challenging Guilford for the second spot.
Lynchburg's top five runners rank among the Top 14 in the conference with Guilford placing its top five among the fastest 22 times in the ODAC. W&L's top five runners rank among the Top 27 with Virginia Wesleyan putting five in the Top 30 and the Eagles placing their top five in the Top 31.
Senior Jake Griffin has paced the Bridgewater pack all season and should challenge for first-team All-Conference honors as he ranks No. 10 in the ODAC in the 8K event.
Sophomore Ryan Speray has been a solid No. 2 runner for the Eagles and ranks No. 17 in the conference. Bridgewater's next four runners – Brian Barnett, Abe Rittenhouse, Paul Johnson and Jordan White – rank between 24 and 33 in the ODAC.