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Hampton grad far exceeds expectations

William and Mary junior Elaina Balouris, a 2010 Hampton graduate, placed 13th in the NCAA Division I cross country championships. (Randy Hawthorne)

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Running roll call

Area runners made an impression at the recent NCAA cross country championships:

Division I

Women

13. Elaina Balouris William & Mary (Hampton) 19:56.0

47. Tori Perri Penn State 20:21.4

71. Rebekka Simko Penn State 20:35.3

76. Sarah-Anne Brault West Virginia 20:36.8

80. Brooklyne Ridder Penn State 20:38.9

156. Natalie Bower Penn State (Latrobe) 21:09.7

159. Katie Rodden Penn State 21:10.6

180. Leigha Anderson Penn State 21:21.8

188. Emily Giannotti Penn State 21:26.7

Men

59. Jim Spisak Duquesne 30:25.0

231. Sam Masters Penn State 32:25.9

Division II

Women

27. Kacey Gibson Edinboro 21:09.2

36. Sarah Krolick Edinboro 21:15.6

60. Stephanie Beaudette IUP 21:43.7

64. Stephanie Case Slippery Rock 21:47.4

70. Emily Ahrens Edinboro 21:52.8

80. Alyssa Taddie IUP 21:59.3

95. Samantha Thompson IUP 22:15.1

114. Rachel Magliane IUP 22:29.2

136. Kasey Jones Edinboro 22:40.9

155. Jane Looby IUP 22:48.5

174. Katie Koenig IUP 22:58.6

186. Megan Maffett Edinboro 23:12.5

192. Hannah Kucewicz Edinboro 23:19.0

204. Elizabeth Budzinski Edinboro 23:32.8

213. Yelena Share IUP 23:53.3

Men

19. Bryan Deibel Edinboro 30:07.2

59. Dustin Thomas Edinboro 30:51.2

69. Matt Link Edinboro 30:57.5

116. Dominic Patrick Edinboro 31:39.5

124. Tim McConnell Edinboro 31:44.6

133. Logan Kempney Edinboro 31:50.3

146. Jon Bogert Seton Hill 32:00.4

216. Michael Thielman Edinboro 33:09.4

Division III

Women

12. Kristen Galligan Washington & Jefferson 21:27.4

Men

2. Bobby Over Allegheny 24:34.8

36. Logan Steiner Allegheny 25:06.8

41. Evan Gates Carnegie Mellon 25:10.8

68. George Degen Carnegie Mellon 25:29.3

118. Josh Newby Carnegie Mellon 25:49.5

120. Kevin Edwards Allegheny 25:50.1

142. Scott Ryan Washington & Jefferson 25:57.4

152. Ken Murphy Carnegie Mellon 26:03.4

155. James Rynes Allegheny 26:04.2

193. Brendan O'Hara Carnegie Mellon 26:19.8

198. Brennan Hamilton Allegheny 26:20.9

219. John Denison Allegheny 26:35.1

231. Chansler Poole St. Vincent 26:44.2

235. Alex Simon Allegheny 26:45.6

264. Adam Cantini Carnegie Mellon 27:29.2

267. Graham Shorr Carnegie Mellon 27:38.9


By Mike Palm

Published: Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, 11:30 p.m.

Elaina Balouris could not have picked a better setting for a breakout performance.

The William & Mary junior ran what she called the best race of her life to place 13th in the NCAA Division I cross country championships Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

The 2010 Hampton graduate finished in 19 minutes, 56 seconds to earn All-American status. The 13th-place finish far exceeded her prerace expectations of finishing in the top 40.

“I think about things very mathematically,” she said. “I was seventh in the regional meet, and there are nine regions, so I thought I would be around the 60s, but hopefully, I could have a better race and be under 60.”

Near-perfect conditions and race familiarity — it was Balouris' fourth time on the course — played a factor, as did help from her team, which qualified for nationals for the first time since 2005.

“It was a pretty big deal for us to even be at that race,” Balouris said. “So there was no pressure on our team to do well because no one really was expecting us to be a threat.”

In a field of more than 250 runners, Balouris felt relaxed with her teammates beside her at the starting line. Those same teammates had helped push her to her most successful season, including wins in the W&M Invitational and the Colonial Athletic Association championships.

“I think it's just taking the experience I've had from the last two years,” she said, “and also just focusing on my mental state during the race because as long as I run calmly and confidently, I race very well.”

Balouris was running 75-80 miles per week for the bulk of the season. And there isn't much of a break for making the switch from cross country to indoor track. Next up is the Liberty Invitational on Nov. 30 in Lynchburg, Va., which serves as a qualifier for the ECAC championships.

After that, Balouris will take a week off from running, followed by a week of easy running every other day. Then it's back to the grind, albeit with a greater sense of belonging among the nation's elite after her NCAA performance.

“It definitely was a big confidence booster for me because I know that I'm going to be able to be with those girls in the spring, too,” she said. “Last year, I was kind of not at that level yet. Now I know I'm at that level.”

 

 
 


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