ODAC Announces Cross Country Honors on Eve of NCAA Championships

ODAC Announces Cross Country Honors on Eve of NCAA Championships

FOREST, Va. --- With the NCAA Division III Championships set to kick into action on Saturday, the ODAC is proud to announce its annual All-ODAC Cross Country Special Awards in the vote the league's head coaches following the regional championship.

Washington and Lee University standout Sara Stephenson not only earned ODAC Women's Cross Country Runner of the Year laurels, but the Generals sophomore also claimed ODAC Women's Cross Country Rookie of the Year honors. University of Lynchburg sophomore Max Sparks was tabbed the ODAC Men's Cross Country Runner of the Year, while Washington and Lee first-year Connor Verrett collected ODAC Men's Cross Country Rookie of the Year recognition.

Both ODAC coaches of the year don Generals' colors as W&L women's mentor Michael Dager and men's coach Brandon Spalding took home the honors. This is the third straight season they have swept the two awards.

The ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurances Scholar-Athletes --- Bridgewater College senior Calista Ariel and Lynchburg senior Shawn Gmurek --- were announced along with the All-ODAC First and Second Teams following the ODAC Championships hosted by Roanoke College at Green Hill Park in Salem, Va., earlier this month. Those honors are posted below.

RELATED: 2019 ODAC Championship Results | 2019 South/Southeast Regional Results

The announcement of the ODAC's final cross country awards comes on the eve of the NCAA Division III Championships, which are set for Saturday, November 23, in Louisville, Ky., at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park. Washington and Lee's women's squad, ranked 18th in the latest national poll published by the USTFCCCA, highlights the ODAC's strong representation. The Generals won the South/Southeast Regional with their top-five athletes finished 16th or better including second and third place.

Stephenson leads the charge after winning the ODAC individual crown and coming up just 8.2-seconds shy of capturing the regional medal. Teammate Katie Harris was less than two seconds behind her in second place. The pair will be joined on the line by Katie Bearup, Julia Moody, Avery Schiffman, Didi Pace, and Nina Gallagher.

Three additional individuals from ODAC schools will compete in the women's six-kilometer race. Bridgewater's Ariel will be joined by teammate and classmate English Jackson. This will be Ariel's second straight appearance on the national stage after finishing 93rd of 279 runners in Winneconne, Wis. Lynchburg's Stephanie Burnett caps the ODAC's women's contingent headed to Kentucky as she is set to become the 14th Hornet in women's program history to compete in the NCAA Championships.

RELATED: NCAA Championship Meet Information | Live Stream | Live Results

On the men's side, Lynchburg's Sparks matched Stephenson's efforts in the women's ranks. Sparks won the ODAC title and then turned in a second place performance at the South/Southeast regional to lead Lynchburg to fourth in the team standings. This will be his second appearance in the national meet. He placed 151st of 280 runners in his ODAC Co-Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018.

Virginia Wesleyan University junior Skyler Lattuca will join Sparks as the second of two automatic individual qualifiers from the ODAC's men's ranks. Lattuca, last season's ODAC Co-Rookie of the Year with Sparks, placed 12th in the regional following a third place finish in the ODAC meet.

Although W&L's Verrett will not be competing at nationals, his strong first season in Lexington helped Washington and Lee claim its fifth straight ODAC championship. He finished 11th in that event and then chimed in 74th in the regional as part of a W&L team that placed third in the team table.

Listed below is the entire slate of 2019 ODAC Cross Country Awards. For more information on ODAC Cross Country, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook at follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.

ODAC Men's Runner of the Year
Max Sparks | So. | Lynchburg

ODAC Men's Coach of the Year
Brandon Spalding | Washington and Lee

ODAC Men's Rookie of the Year
Connor Verrett | Fy. | Washington and Lee

Men's ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance

Shawn Gmurek | Sr. | Lynchburg
  ODAC Women's Runner of the Year
Sara Stephenson | So. | Washington and Lee

ODAC Women's Coach of the Year
Michael Dager | Washington and Lee

ODAC Women's Rookie of the Year
Sara Stephenson | So. | Washington and Lee

Women's ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance

Calista Ariel | Sr. | Bridgewater
All-ODAC First Team - Men   All-ODAC First Team - Women
Max Sparks LYN 24:44.1   Sara Stephenson W&L 22:00.4
Daniel Cope W&L 24:59.2   Julia Moody W&L 22:01.8
Skyler Lattuca VWU 25:03.1   Katie Harris W&L 22:07.3
Shawn Gmurek LYN 25:14.7   Stephanie Burnett LYN 22:12.5
Drew Woodfolk W&L 25:19.1   Katie Bearup W&L 22:17.8
Andrew Johnson LYN 25:22.2   English Jackson BC 22:26.4
Ethan Bernstein W&L 25:23.1   Calista Ariel BC 22:33.5
All-ODAC Second Team - Men   All-ODAC Second Team - Women
Freddie Marx W&L 25:32.4   Emily Miller SU 22:35.0
Austin Kinne W&L 25:33.6   Avery Schiffman W&L 22:38.0
Conor White E&H 25:49.1   Didi Pace W&L 22:45.0
Connor Verrett W&L 25:52.0   Michela Cholak LYN 22:47.9
Brennan Straits LYN 25:58.5   Sarah Mann SU 22:50.0
Kyle Clarke W&L 26:00.8   Jacqueline Clardy-Josephs RAND 23:00.4
Peter Smith RC 26:03.8   Nina Gallagher W&L 23:02.7
Men's Runner of the Meet   Women's Runner of the Meet
Max Sparks | So. | Lynchburg   Sarah Stephenson | So. | Washington and Lee
Men's Rookie of the Meet   Women's Rookie of the Meet
Conor White | Jr. | Emory & Henry   Sarah Stephenson | So. | Washington and Lee